Last week the City of Tacoma released it’s preliminary budget for the 2021-2022 biennium and we are excited about our partnership with the City in advancing the cause of affordable housing in the midst of declining City revenues.
Habitat for Humanity’s policy and budget agenda included five primary items:
- Investment in the Affordable Housing Fund
- Prioritization of down payment investment for first time home buyers of color
- Expedited permitting for affordable housing developments
- Specific policy language in the City’s 2021 State Legislative Agenda
- A formal workgroup to study and make policy and budget recommendations to address homeownership rate disparities.
The preliminary budget, which will be finalized in November, showed success in 4 of our 5 priority areas.
The budget included a $1,000,000 investment in the Affordable Housing Fund, which can be used for things such as: acquisition, construction, and rehabilitation for affordable housing and rental and mortgage assistance. All Affordable Housing Fund projects must serve households earning under 60% of the area median income.
The proposed budget also enhances Planning and Development Services Department support by adding a position to assess affordable housing projects quickly, provide options, prioritize affordable housing projects, help incentivize new units, and coordinate projects to address permitting concerns proactively. As Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity moves back to developing in Tacoma on a regular basis, this addition is very helpful to our site development and construction operations.
There will also be expansion and focusing of the City’s Down Payment Assistance Program by developing and implementing a marketing strategy that focuses on creating wealth-building opportunities among the City’s underserved populations including BIPOC households. The City’s budget also includes funding for a disparity study on Down Payment & Foreclosure Assistance provided by the City of Tacoma.
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