Commerce awards $17.5 million in infrastructure funding to boost affordable housing development in 11 counties

Grants fund utility connection fees and improvements needed to connect affordable housing to municipal water and sewer.

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced $17.5 million in funding for 26 projects that will support the development of nearly 2,100 affordable housing units throughout the state. Funds will lower the effective cost of development by about $8,000 for each housing unit.

“The communities receiving grant funds have already made affordable housing a priority with local tax levies. This program supports and helps accelerate that work at a time when affordable housing projects throughout the state are facing significant cost increases,” said Lisa Brown, state Commerce Director.

The Connecting Housing to Infrastructure program (CHIP) awards prioritized projects that include home ownership units as part of a community land trust, offering housing that is affordable in perpetuity.

Artist rendering of South Sound Family Support center project in Olympia, WA

The South Sound Family Support Center project in Olympia received funding in the first round of CHIP grants awarded in February this year to support its water, sewer and storm water infrastructure. This rendering of the project shows the planned buildings and retention pond. The project, developed by Bellwether Housing, will include 62 affordable housing units and provide services on the city’s west side. (Illustration courtesy of The Family Support Center of South Sound & John Braund, Inc.).

Commerce awarded funding to projects in 11 counties.  They were selected from 44 applications received in round two, including those not funded in round one, and representing over $40 million in application requests.

  • Clark County
    • $1,335,605 to the City of Battle Ground for the Weaver Creek Commons project of 80 affordable units with an accessible creek-side trail.
    • $345,900 to the City of Vancouver for the Fourth Plain Commons project with 106 affordable units in a mixed-use development.
  • Island County
    • $110,876 to the City of Langley for the Heron Park project with seven affordable ownership units in a community land trust.
    • $70,245 to the City of Langley for the THINC Homes projects with 10 affordable units in a cottage setting.
  • King County
    • $1,228,000 to the City of Bellevue for the Polaris at Eastgate project with 360 affordable units, including an early learning center.
    • $611,678 to the City of Carnation for the Sno Valley project, with 15 affordable units for area seniors.
    • $464,370 to King County for the Samma Seniors project in Bothell with 76 affordable units for senior residents.
    • $1,098,844 to King County for the White Center HUB project with 76 affordable units adjacent to Dick Thurnau Memorial Park.
    • $316,020 to the City of Renton for the Watershed Apartments projects with 145 affordable homes, including several units for families with children.
    • $708,708 to the City of Seattle for the Boylston Housing project with 111 affordable units for formerly homeless seniors.
    • $1,245,023 to the City of Seattle for the Madison House project with 248 affordable units including a children’s play area.
    • $1,257,108 to the City of Seattle for the Rose 2 project with 181 affordable homes in the Rainier Beach neighborhood.
    • $1,348,429 to the City of Seattle for the Yesler Family Housing project with 156 affordable units with a childcare facility.
    • $625,000 to the City of Seattle for the PAHO project with 19 affordable ownership units in a community land trust.
    • $367,429 to the City of Shoreline for the Permanent Supportive Housing project with 100 affordable units demonstrating modular housing.
  • Kitsap County
    • $430,000 to the City of Bremerton for the Manette housing project with nine affordable units targeting homeless families with children.
    • $240,000 to the City of Poulsbo for the Nordic Cottages project with six affordable units for women and families.
  • Kittitas County – $395,000 to the City of Ellensburg for the Stuart Meadows project with 18 affordable ownership units in a community land trust.
  • Mason County – $445,776 to the City of Shelton for the Quixote Communities project with 30 affordable units for veterans.
  • Pierce County – $700,000 to the City of Tacoma for the 15th and Tacoma project with 86 affordable units supported by the Korean Women’s Association.
  • San Juan County – $159,417 to the City of Friday Harbor for the Holliwalk Homes project with eight affordable ownership units in a community land trust.
  • Snohomish County
    • $1,440,817 to City of Lynnwood for the Housing Hope project at Scriber Field with 52 affordable housing units for unsheltered families within the Edmonds School District.
    • $1,361,011 to the City of Edmonds for the Housing Hope project at Lutheran Church Field with 52 affordable units.
  • Whatcom County – $502,302 to City of Bellingham for the Samish Commons project with 102 affordable units in the Samish Urban Village.
  • Yakima County
    • $471,710 to the City of Yakima for Genesis housing project with 32 affordable units serving low-income farmworker households.
    • $185,352 to the City of Yakima for the Rod’s House project with 12 affordable units designed for homeless youth.

CHIP grants provide up to $2.5 million per project for sewer, water or stormwater improvements and/or waived system development charges for new affordable housing projects. The applicant must be a city, county or public utility district in partnership with an affordable housing project. The goal is to help build more housing units more quickly, by covering upfront costs of infrastructure and connecting housing to municipal systems.

The program will also help local governments reduce per unit connection fees, which are used to pay for area-wide improvements to water or wastewater systems. When utilities reduce these connection fees for affordable, multifamily or infill projects, it can help encourage development of more of these housing options, which tend to be more affordable and make more efficient use of costly infrastructure.

Next funding round opening soon

Applications open soon for a third round of grants to be awarded this summer.  More information is available on the CHIP webpage.

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