The Latest News

June 2016

President's Message
Hello housers! 

We had a fabulous conference in Seattle this last month. For those of you who attended, I hope you found it to be educational as well as having provided great opportunities to network with your colleagues from across the region.
The conference was kicked off by Dr. Donna Beegle who shared her personal story about growing up in poverty as well as insights of how to effectively help those battling with it now. We were truly inspired by her words.
The conference agenda was loaded with relevant sessions that were led by the best in our industry. Personally, I came back with several ideas that I look forward to implementing at my agency.
I want to thank those who planned our conference. It is not an easy task! The people on the committee are already incredibly busy with their day to day work, yet they commit to dedicating time and energy to create a product that will successfully meet the needs of our membership. Those committee members are: Bill Cook, Cupid Alexander, Dave Wellings, Josh Crites, Lisa Stevens, Lowel Krueger, Michele Poletti and Sandi Bernstrom. Thank you to each of you. I also want to thank our RSO, Kristen Damazio. Without her help, the planning would have stalled as she always kept us focused and on pace. It was a pleasure to work with all of you this last year.
If you would like to be a part of next year's planning committee, please contact Kristen or me. We welcome your participation!
Additionally, I would like to reach out to all of you to find those who would like to participate more in our regional leadership. We will be forming ad hoc committees for Legislative Network, Emerging Leaders, International Research and Global Exchange, Strategic Planning, and Housing America. Please let me know if you would like to be a part of any of these committees.
It was pleasure to visit with so many of you at our conference. For those I didn't get to meet, I hope to see you in Portland in July for the National NAHRO Summer Conference or next April for our Regional Conference.

2016 Annual Conference
Resources Education Advocacy Community Housing
2016 PNRC-NAHRO Annual Conference & Exhibits

Nearly 300 people attended the Annual Conference in Seattle last month. On Monday, the Keynote Speaker, Dr. Donna Beegle was a big hit and the NAHRO and DC Update by NAHRO Interim CEO was timely and informative. Tuesday's General Session with NAHRO Senior Vice President, Carl Richie was engaging and interesting and the question and answer session was very popular. All of the breakout sessions were well attended and the Exhibit Hall was busy! Thank you to our sponsors for your support of the event. 

Mark your calendar - April 23-25, 2017 in Portland, Oregon for the 2017 Conference!

Table discussion exercises during 
Keynote address by Dr. Donna Beegle.

Keynote Speaker,
Dr. Donna Beegle

Regional NewsRegNews1
Commission finances 540 units of affordable housing statewide
SEATTLE, Wash.-Seniors in Bellingham, the homeless in Vancouver, and families in rural northwestern and  northeastern Washington are among those who will benefit from 540 new and rehabilitated units of affordable housing, thanks to an estimated $55.2 million in equity from Low-Income Housing Tax Credits allocated by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. 
"The diversity of these projects highlight the flexibility of the housing tax credit," said Karen Miller, chair of the Housing Finance Commission. "Every kind of community statewide can benefit from this important resource."
The following projects were approved by the governor-appointed Commission as the result of the annual competition for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. This federal resource helps affordable-housing developers raise equity for new buildings and renovations by selling the credits to investors. Amounts are the estimated equity the developer expects to gain from the tax-credit allocation.
  • Vancouver: Two new developments of 30 units each will provide supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness, tied to services provided onsite through partnerships with other agencies.
  • Meriwether Place (Columbia Nonprofit Housing and Vancouver Housing Authority, $6.4 million).
  • The Meadows (Second Step Housing, $5.5 million).
    • Renton: Sunset Court (Renton Housing Authority, $9.5 million). Part of the ongoing transformation of the Sunset area, these 50 new homes will serve households earning under 50% of area median income.
    • Bellingham: Eleanor Apartments, 405 N. Champion St. (Mercy Housing Northwest, $17.3 million). Eighty apartments for seniors on a large parcel in downtown Bellingham will promote senior health and wellness through on-site services by Peace Health/St. Joseph's and amenities such as a walking trail.
    • Northeastern Washington: Colville Homes IV (Colville Indian Housing Authority, $8.6 million). This project will build four new triplexes and rehabilitate 35 older homes in rural Nespelem, Inchelium and Keller on the Colville Indian Reservation.
    • Prosser: Prosser Senior Housing (Catholic Charities Housing Services, $8.6 million). These 60 senior apartments will complete a three-phase development that includes rental housing and single-family homes.
    • Port Angeles: Mt. Angeles View Phase I (Peninsula Housing Authority, $12 million). Barracks-style buildings from 1942 will be demolished and rebuilt with almost twice as many housing units (63 total), in the form of single-family homes, duplexes and four-plexes, as the first phase of an 18-acre redevelopment.
Apart from the above competitive awards, the Commission also financed the new construction of the Madison Way Apartments in Lynnwood (14709 Madison Way) with a $33 million tax-exempt bond and an estimated $17.3 million in tax-credit equity. The 180 apartments will range from one to five bedrooms and include many amenities for families.
At its April meeting, the Commission also approved the following nonprofit financings:
Seattle Art Museum: As part of King County's Green Community Initiative, SAM's original building will be retrofitted to improve energy efficiency and water conservation. The Commission will issue $2.8 million in Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds to finance the improvements, which will save energy and help to preserve the museum's art collection.
Washington Access Fund: The Commission approved a $250,000 loan to support the nonprofit's financing of home modifications for persons with disabilities through low-interest loans and matching savings accounts.
Four Washington State Housing Authorities Honor 
Senator Patty Murray with Special Award

From left, Jan Wichert, Director of Resident Services, Vancouver Housing Authority, Andrew Lofton, Executive Director, Seattle Housing Authority, Sen. Patty Murray, Stephen Norman, Executive Director, King County Housing Authority and Michael Mirra, Executive Director, Tacoma Housing Authority.

May 12, 2016 - Four housing authorities in Washington state today honored Sen. Patty Murray with a special award. The King County, Seattle, Tacoma, and Vancouver housing authorities recognized the senator's leadership on behalf of low-income families and individuals living in the state. In particular, Sen. Murray was praised for her leadership in securing continuance of current contract terms and conditions for extensions of Moving To Work (MTW) agreements with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The four housing authorities are among 39 nationwide that have MTW agreements with HUD, which enable high-performing housing authorities to test and implement innovative, locally designed approaches to administer their federally subsidized housing programs. Together the four authorities serve 39,473 households through these programs.

The flexibility provided by the Moving To Work program has allowed the four authorities to help more low-income families, improve neighborhoods, preserve and expand the supply of affordable housing, reduce homelessness, expand access to high-opportunity areas, improve residents' economic self-sufficiency, and support successful educational outcomes of children. Additionally, millions in taxpayer dollars have been saved due to the ability of the authorities to streamline their operations and business processes.

"By allowing us to flexibly direct federal support for low-income and affordable housing, MTW is the single most important tool we have to improve the quality of lives and the communities of the people we serve," said King County Executive Director Stephen Norman. "We deeply appreciate Sen. Murray's tireless advocacy for this program on behalf of vulnerable families with children, people with disabilities, and seniors."

Seattle Housing Authority Executive Director Andrew Lofton, said, "The tremendous benefit our MTW contracts bring to low-income families and individuals, and our respective communities, is not something most people are aware of, but Patty Murray understood immediately how changes could negatively impact our region. Her efforts on behalf of people in our state should not go unrecognized and we hope this award widens appreciation for her leadership."
In addition to providing housing, the Tacoma Housing Authority helps people succeed, not just as tenants, but also as "parents, students, wage earners, and builders of assets. We especially appreciate Sen. Murray's support of our efforts to help children succeed in school," said Michael Mirra, executive director of the Tacoma Housing Authority.

"Sen. Murray has consistently supported our MTW designations and the services provided by housing authorities," said Vancouver Housing Authority Executive Director Roy Johnson. "The lead she took in ensuring that the MTW designation was extended was vitally important to our ability to be more responsive to community needs, our ability to foster relationships with community partners and develop collaborative programs that are more robust as a result of our MTW flexibility."

Sen. Murray was moved by the award. "I want to thank our housing authorities involved in the critical Moving To Work program - they truly serve as a national model. Their tireless commitment to increasing affordable housing with an eye towards innovation truly makes a difference," she said. "I am honored by this recognition and am proud to be your partner in the U.S. Senate. I will keep fighting every day for low-income families to have access to a safe and affordable place to live and to the opportunities they need to work hard and succeed."

All Housing Kitsap Units to be Smoke-Free 

BREMERTON - Housing Kitsap has officially declared all residences under their control to be smoking free.

"Really, the health benefits are the biggest driver for us," said Holly Paterson, director of real estate management and  housing programs for Housing Kitsap. "We've got lots of families, lots of people that don't want to live in (smoking housing)."

According to Paterson, the process was started late 2014, and put into motion in November 2015. Paterson said it will start going into effect June 1, though not every residence will be designated smoking free at the same time. She said that due to some lease agreements and policies at different properties, the change will be staggered.

"Some people are a little upset about it," Paterson said, "but the majority has been pretty understanding, has been nice."

Affordable housing planned on Viking Avenue

POULSBO - Housing Kitsap and Sound West Group are looking at the feasibility of building affordable-rent apartments at 19647 Viking Ave.

The property, just south of North Kitsap Fishline, was once the site of Golden Homes of Poulsbo.
Sound West Group is currently under contract to purchase the property.

"It is a very exciting time but very early in the process," said Wes Larson, one of the principal partners of the Sound West Group. "We are studying the property's history and looking at the feasibility."

Stuart Grogan, Housing Kitsap's executive director, said, "We are thrilled about the opportunity to work with Sound West Group. With limited resources such as local and state grants, partnerships like these are how new affordable housing projects will be developed."

National News
NAHRO International Research and Global Committee News!

An IRGE members observations from Learning from the City
By Ron Clewer
Held at the University of Chicago on March 31, this day long, regional dialogue on the global urban agenda was packed with incredible presenters and information. As one of five regional convenings, co-hosted by HUD in collaboration with civic, governmental, educational, and philanthropic partners the intent is to pave the way to Habitat III, by meeting three primary goals:
1) To provide an interactive forum for scholars, practitioners, philanthropists, students, and thought leaders to share local challenges, models, and lessons learned over the last 20 years related to housing and sustainable urban development;
2) To stimulate dialogue about connections between local and global urban challenges, and uplift local practices to inform the U.S. policy agenda;
3) To strengthen connections among urban development practitioners, scholars, and funders across the Midwestern region.
In my opinion the conference exceeded its goals - I believe connections were strengthened, dialogue was stimulated and the forum of thought leaders and housing policy makers and practitioners was certainly interactive. 

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