2014: Invest in the Housing Trust Fund

What is it?

The Housing Trust Fund is Washington’s best tool for creating and maintaining affordable homes. Because soaring market-rate rent prices are out of reach for many low-income families, the Fund is vital for keeping families in safe, decent homes. The majority of people living in homes built by the Fund have extremely low incomes, earning less than $19,000 for a family of three.

What’s the impact?

Monica and her son Eric were on the edge of homelessness before they moved into their apartment at YWCA Family Village at Issaquah, an affordable community built with Housing Trust Fund Dollars. Now Eric, winner of a number of “Good Neighbor” awards, is thriving. Photo credit: Degale Cooper.

All partnering YWCAs provide either housing or services to clients who need housing. In some YWCA communities, the Housing Trust Fund is the only funding that provides for affordable housing. Many of our clients have moved from crisis to stability thanks to Housing Trust Fund investment.

The Fund creates vibrant communities by decreasing homelessness, creating jobs and boosting economic development. It is estimated that every 1,000 units of housing built generates 1,220 jobs are created, $79 million in local income and $8.3 million in taxes and fees for local governments.

How does it work?

Every year, lawmakers vote on how much to invest in the Fund as part of the state capital budget. With encouragement from advocates like you, legislators invest between three and four percent of the total capital budget in the Housing Trust Fund. The Department of Commerce distributes these dollars to Washington communities through local governments and nonprofits. The money renovates houses, creates new homeownership opportunities, and builds new housing developments, including supportive homes for disabled people.

What happened in 2014?

For the first time in over a decade, the legislature did not pass a supplemental capital budget. This means that there was zero new investment in safe, healthy, affordable homes.

What can you do?

Keep the conversation going about the need for affordable housing in our state. Seek out stories about housing issues on Firesteel and elsewhere, and share them!