Connecting Housing to Infrastructure Program (CHIP)
The Connecting Housing to Infrastructure Program (CHIP) was created in 2021 to fund utility improvements for affordable housing. This program was funded again in the 2023 legislative session with $55.5 million budgeted for grants and deferred loans for the 2023-2025 biennium.
The Connection Housing to Infrastructure Program (CHIP) was created in 2021 to fund utility connections for affordable housing. By covering the upfront costs of infrastructure and connecting housing to municipal systems, the program makes affordable housing projects more viable and helps bring more affordable housing units online.
The program also helps local governments reduce per unit connection fees. When utilities reduce or waive connection fees for affordable, multifamily or infill projects, it can encourage development of more such housing options, which tend to be more affordable and make more efficient use of costly infrastructure.
Specifically, CHIP can:
- Pay for onsite water, sewer and stormwater improvements for the housing development
- Pay for offsite water, sewer, and stormwater improvements in the right-of-way, connecting to the development
- Reimburse waived system development charges for the project.
The 2023-25 funding biennium for CHIP opened for applications on August 1, 2023. A total of $55.5 million was available. The current application period is now closed. 2023 CHIP grants were awarded in the amount of $46.5 million. A list of award recipients can be found here. $12.7 million was reserved for a future funding round.
CHIP will open applications again in the fall of 2024. When the 2024 CHIP application period is open, a link to ZoomGrants will be provided here to complete the application process.
2024 CHIP Awards by County
The applicant must be a city, county or public utility district in partnership with an affordable housing project, and must meet the following requirements:
- The city or county must have imposed a sales and use tax for affordable housing.
- The new housing development must include at least 25% affordable units at or under 80% area median income (AMI), with a strong probability of serving the target group for at least 25 years.
- Affordable housing must begin construction within 24 months of the grant award.
Please see the following supporting documents:
To be eligible for reimbursement for waived system development charges, the applicant must have in place, or put in place, an ordinance which reduces system development charges for affordable housing units, as authorized by RCW 35.92.380 and 36.94.370.
Good examples include:
- City of Bellingham’s Ordinance 2015-07-029
- King County Wastewater’s website, which shows how system development charges are levied across a variety of housing types, with a reduction to 0.32 RCEs for affordability.
Commerce can assist your jurisdiction with preparing an ordinance. Reach out to the program administrator for more information.
Since 2021, CHIP has supported the development of nearly 7800 affordable housing units, helping to create housing for the most vulnerable segments of our population. To learn more about previous funding cycles and who was funded, see the following: