The Tacoma City Council passed the 2021-20222 biennial budget at their November 24th meeting. So what does that mean for affordable housing in Tacoma? Well, not much has changed from our preliminary budget breakdown we did in October.
The City will invest $1 million into it’s Affordable Housing Fund (AHF). This fund is designed to support affordable housing development, but may be used in alternative ways; such as rental and mortgage assistance for low-income households.
In 2021 the AHF will also fund a study to identify disparities which have resulted in disproportionate homeownership rates and the inaccessibility for communities of color -particularly Black communities – in accessing homeownership, which is a barrier to building generational wealth. The study will conclude by August 2021 and will include, “specific budget and policy recommendations to increase Black homeownership in Tacoma, including the potential consideration of dedicating a percentage of all down payment assistance funds to Black residents.” This was one of Tacoma Habitat’s primary budget requests when we began our conversations with council and staff during the summer and fall of 2020.
The biennial budget will both expand and focus the marketing efforts of the City’s Down Payment Assistance Program using a refined strategy to focus on the City’s underserved populations, including BIPOC households.
Finally, the thing that most excites our Site Development and Construction Department is the funding of a new position in the Planning and Development Services Department to support the development of affordable housing. This will include expediting all affordable housing permitting. This is a welcome addition to City staff as Tacoma Habitat has plans to develop dozens of new units over the next few years.
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