Affordable Housing Week is this week (May 16th-22). Demand for housing has never been higher than it is now. More than 38 million individuals live in a rental home across the country, and 42 percent of those that do rent call an apartment their home. Apartments provide housing, create jobs and build community. In all, apartments contribute more than $1.3 trillion to the U.S. Economy.
But the demand for affordable housing is even greater. The Washington Multi-Family Housing Association (WMFHA) is committed to creating and preserving affordable housing including low income housing units across the state. WMFHA works closely with federal, state and local governments and in concert with its members to create and preserve affordable housing in large metropolitan areas and small communities across Washington State.
Together, WMFHA has:
- Participated in the NAA’s grassroots advocacy efforts to support reforms to the Section 8 programto further simplify the often burdensome federal program. Some of the reforms include:
- Streamlining the inspection process required at move-in;
- Ensuring and continuing the voluntary nature of the program;
- Increasing predictable funding from Congress and honoring existing contracts
- Supported and encouraged its members to apply and invest in the Multi-Family Tax Exemption and voluntary incentive zoning programs in Seattle. Support for the MFTE program in Seattle has been resounding. Together with our members, we have created more than 5,700 affordable apartment homes ranging from efficiency studio units to family-size three bedroom homes.
- Supported the creation of a Housing Trust Account through the State Department of Commerce to encourage more landlords across the State to open their rental properties to Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher recipients. The $125,000 fund allows landlords to seek reimbursement for damage caused by a Section 8 tenant and for unpaid rent up to $5,000.
- Supported Senator Maria Cantwell’s push to create more affordable housing by expanding the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. Nationwide, the program has paid for nearly three million rental homes since 1986, including more than 18,000 in Seattle alone. An expansion of the program by 50 percent would assist in building 4,200 units in Washington over 10 years.
- Created grassroots advocacy in Olympia through our annual Day on the Hill Lobby Day to support State legislation creating a Preservation Tax Exemption opportunity for existing properties charging affordable rent from rising up-market. This proposed legislation sought to create tax incentives to landlords and property owners to preserve affordable units for up to 15 years and maintain them in a safe and healthy manner.
- Supported provisions of the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda. WMFHA continues to support the creation of affordable housing in all parts of the City of Seattle while maintaining the open and free ability of our members to conduct business and make well-informed decisions about who is renting in their communities.
We will continue to work with all of our regional partners and policymakers to support affordable housing initiatives.