Friday, March 6th, the Washington State House of Representatives voted to pass Tacoma Habitat’s 2020 priority legislation, Senate Bill 6212, with an overwhelming majority of 91 yay votes, 6 nays, and 1 excused.
This legislation updates an affordable housing tax policy, last amended during the 1995 legislative session. This update will allow the funds raised via a voter approved property tax levy to fund foreclosure prevention programs, affordable homeownership and owner-occupied home repair projects for low-income households earning no more than 80% of the local area median income. Under current law, funds raised via this levy are only able to fund affordable housing efforts for households earning no more than 50% of the local area median income.
The ability for these funds to be used to prevent foreclosure was a priority for Representative Ed Orcutt (20-Kalama). “If we can do just a little bit to help somebody continue to pay their mortgage…then a small amount of money can go a long way to preventing future costs,” said Rep. Orcutt from the floor during the final bill passage. You can watch the floor debate on this bill HERE.
Bill sponsor, Senator Mona Das (47-Kent) noted the work that went into crafting and passing this legislation, “It’s been an honor to work with so many members of the community to come up with affordable housing solutions that work for all of our neighbors, for our cities, and for our developers. I am so excited about the positive impact this policy will have on affordable housing availability.”
This legislation will now head to Governor Inslee’s desk for final passage. If you would like to attend this bill signing please check HERE for bill signing schedule information.
To learn more about Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity’s legislative agenda, visit our Advocate page and/or join our Advocacy update list.
Photo courtesy of WDOT.