Commerce awards $12.5 million to preserve affordable housing in rural communities

  • August 13, 2020

State Housing Trust Fund to help preserve 150 units facing expiration of low-income use restrictions

OLYMPIA, WA — The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced $12.5 million in grants from the state’s Housing Trust Fund to seven affordable housing projects located in rural communities throughout the state.

  • Catholic Housing Services of Eastern Washington, $2.5 million for Pine Crest project in Deer Park
  • Housing Authority of Chelan County and city of Wenatchee, $1.64 million for Bavarian Village Apartments in Leavenworth
  • Housing Authority of Okanogan County, $1.69 million for Elmwood Apartments in Okanogan
  • Housing Authority of Okanogan County, $2 million for Peach Tree Place in Brewster
  • Joint Pacific County Housing Authority, $1.3 million for Pacific Place Apartments in South Bend
  • Spokane Housing Ventures, $2.3 million for South Hill II project in Sunnyside
  • Spokane Housing Ventures, $1 million for Sunnyside Manor, Sunnyside

“The need for affordable housing has only increased with the economic strain of COVID-19,” said Lisa Brown, director of the Department of Commerce. “These funds are essential to keep housing options available to vulnerable people and strengthen communities throughout the state.”

These grant funds will help preserve 150 multifamily rental units that are at risk of being lost from Washington’s stock of affordable housing due to expiration of low-income use restrictions on prior funding these projects received years ago from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development program. Owners are now eligible to pre-pay their USDA loans and sell their properties.

This investment by the state Housing Trust Fund will help nonprofit housing providers purchase and rehabilitate the seven properties, preserving them as affordable for the next 40 years.

Commerce received eight grant applications, requesting over $14 million. The $12.5 million announced today comes from a $10 million special appropriation to the Housing Trust Fund by the 2020 Legislature, provided solely to preserve units in multifamily rental housing projects that are at risk of losing affordability. Another $2.5 million will come from a $40 million flexible appropriation for affordable housing in the state’s 2020 Supplemental Budget.

“Thanks to this important $12.5 million capital investment, these units will continue to provide safe and affordable housing to the current tenants without displacing them. Moreover, many of the units will be able to continue to receive rent assistance from USDA for many years to come,” said Housing Trust Fund Managing Director Corina Grigoras.

To learn more about the Washington State Housing Trust Fund, visit Commerce’s website.

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