Capacity Building, Outreach and Support Program (CBOS)

This page provides information about the resources available for groups that are interested in building affordable housing but need additional support to progress their project. Please review the opportunities below for affordable housing technical assistance, training, and, predevelopment grants and follow up with the Commerce team to get connected and learn more.

Artist rendering of Kent Multicultural Village affordable housing development

Many people in our state need a safe and affordable place to live. Some groups face more challenges than others, such as rural communities, by-and-for organizations, and Black, Indigenous and Persons of Color (BIPOC) groups. Commerce is working to ensure access to housing is fair and equitable for everyone through the Housing Trust Fund (HTF).

To do this, Commerce’s Capacity Building, Outreach and Support (CBOS) team is working to expand the capacity of new, underserved and by-and-for organization, serving rural area and marginalized groups. The goal is to increase these organizations access to the HTF to develop affordable housing in their communities. This new program offers predevelopment technical assistance tailored to the needs of each organization.

Affordable Housing Predevelopment Technical Assistance

Commerce staff and consultants are available to work with groups to plan successful projects focused on developing housing for very low and low-income persons. Technical assistance services are prioritized for organizations serving BIPOC; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Transgender, and other-gender diverse populations; organizations serving marginalized communities, and organizations serving rural areas.   Technical assistance activities vary based on the needs of each organization and community, but may include:

  • project planning,
  • financing strategy,
  • site planning and design, and
  • Feasibility analysis.

If you are interested in this program, complete our technical assistance inquiry form so that our team can connect you to the appropriate resource or consultant or for more information reach out to HTFCapacityBuilding@commerce.wa.gov.

Note: Please check the fact sheet for additional information regarding eligibility; property types; and other frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Affordable Housing Predevelopment Grants

Planning and predesign grants for Community-Based Organizations

The Washington State Department of Commerce is soliciting proposals from qualified Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) interested in completing planning and predesign projects that will support readiness to apply for a Commerce capital grant program. The selected applicants will receive grant funding for planning, technical assistance, and predesign projects that would directly benefit populations and communities that have been historically underserved by capital grant programs.

No less than $5.45 million in grant funding is offered under this solicitation, with individual planning, technical assistance, predesign, and preconstruction grant awards up to $200,000 per project. Commerce will evaluate projects on the attributes of the proposed scope of work and applicant qualifications.

A minimum of $2 million is reserved for housing-related planning, predesign, or preconstruction activities, which would assist the organization or tribe with pursuing a future capital award from the affordable housing programs authorized in Chapter 43.185A RCW.

Eligible Activities include (see RFP for full detail):

  1. Project Management
  2. Site Planning and Design
  3. Budgeting
  4. Capital Funding and Financing Strategy
  5. Plan and Policy Coordination

Eligibility

Qualified CBOs means your organization has not received a Commerce capital program competitive award in the last two (2) years. Although other applicant types are eligible to apply, applicants will receive priority for funding if they are:

  1. operating in a rural county, or
  2. a federally recognized tribe; or
  3. serving marginalized or underserved communities without a history of receiving Commerce capital funding

Timeline

  • Pre-proposal Conferences (see RFP for registration information details):
    • General session: June 10, 2024, 11 a.m.
    • Tribal session: June 11, 1 p.m.
  • Proposals due: August 2, 2024
  • Funding period: September. 21, 2024 – June 30, 2025

View/Download RFP (Box PDF)

 

Grant writing assistance

To reduce barriers to this grant, Commerce is offering grant writing virtual workshops for this RFP on a first come, first served basis. Please register for grant writing assistance.

If you have questions regarding grant writing assistance connected to this RFP, please contact Alice Zillah.

 

Affordable Housing Trainings

Commerce is working to develop new affordable housing training resources to equip organizations with the knowledge and expertise that they need to pursue affordable housing development. Stay tuned for more information on these by signed up for our email updates.

In the meantime, here are a few existing external resources for affordable housing training:

  • Housing Washington: In partnership with the Washington State Housing Finance Commission; Commerce; and Washington State Low Income Housing Alliance, this conference brings together affordable housing professionals striving to create and promote affordable housing solutions throughout the State. Recording of previous conference sessions are available.
  • Grow Americaoffers a six-part affordable housing development webinar series to assist housing developers with additional experience the tools to manage and comply with affordable housing process. The six-part training series  includes session on understanding the development process; lending and underwriting; understanding the market; design and sustainability; gap financing; and LIHTC.

Subscribe

To sign up for Housing Trust Fund email updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.