$6 million grant will expand rental housing for extremely low-income people with disabilities throughout Washington state
State Housing Trust Fund estimates new HUD funding will approximately double existing capacity to serve vulnerable people statewide
OLYMPIA, WA — The Washington State Department of Commerce has been awarded one of only seven grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to develop new rental housing for extremely low-income people with disabilities. The $6 million grant recognizes the state’s leadership in creating permanent supportive housing models that promote long-term housing security and facilitate community integration of persons with disabilities.
“We have worked to tie together the state Housing Trust Fund, our partners at the Department of Social and Health Services, Health Care Authority and rental assistance in a meaningful, systemic way that should be a model for all of our efforts to serve people with disabling conditions,” said Diane Klontz, Commerce Assistant Director for Community Services and Housing.
Klontz estimates the funding will roughly double capacity, supporting approximately 260 rental units statewide for people in need ages 18-64.
While this is great news, it is a fraction of the housing inventory this population needs. A January 2019 study commissioned by the state Office of Financial Management estimated a deficit of 16,885 housing units for behavioral health clients alone. This additional federal funding, provided under the HUD Section 811 program, is open to people with a broader range of disabling conditions.
Commerce received its first Section 811 grant in 2014. Commerce works to set aside up to 25% of units within a participating housing complex for qualifying client referrals, entering into 30-year agreements to sustain the inventory of supportive housing units for this purpose. Eligible clients have access to services through DSHS and the Health Care Authority, and Commerce pays the property owners the monthly rent for each unit set aside in the program.
These new HUD grants were awarded to organizations that will create permanent supportive housing models that will be at the forefront of design, service delivery and efficient use of federal resources.