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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Executive proposes partnership to develop or preserve more than 2,000 units of affordable housing across King County

Summary

Under a proposal by Executive Constantine, King County Housing Authority would have access to King County’s triple-A credit rating, enabling the Authority to develop or preserve up to 2,200 units of affordable housing in strategic locations, such as near mass transit or high-performing schools.

Story

King County Executive Dow Constantine today proposed a new partnership with the King County Housing Authority that would develop or acquire more than 2,000 units of affordable housing with low-cost financing made possible by the county’s stellar credit rating.

Under the Executive’s proposal, King County Housing Authority would have access to King County's triple-A credit rating. That would enable the Housing Authority to develop or preserve up to 2,200 units of affordable housing over the next six years in strategic locations, such as near mass transit or high-performing schools.

“To ensure a strong, thriving middle class in our region, we must have more housing that is both affordable and connected to opportunity,” said Executive Constantine. “By joining forces with the King County Housing Authority, we will deliver more than two thousand units of affordable housing countywide – near mass transit and in vibrant neighborhoods.”

King County Housing Authority has a proven track record of outstanding financial performance, but changes in banking practices in recent years have made it harder for housing authorities to get low-cost financing. With King County guaranteeing the loans, banks will extend a line of credit to the Housing Authority to acquire property sooner while it’s still relatively affordable.

“This partnership leverages the County’s credit authority to support the County’s social equity and smart growth agenda,” said Stephen Norman, Executive Director of King County Housing Authority. “County government’s support enables KCHA to work with the market to set the stage for the long term social and economic health of the region.

Executive Constantine and Executive Director Norman have directed their staffs to negotiate the details of this agreement. It needs to provide flexibility for the Housing Authority to act quickly while ensuring the protection of the County’s bond rating.  A detailed proposal is expected in the summer.

The initiative would expand a partnership that over the past 20 years has helped the Housing Authority acquire more than 2,000 apartments that are affordable to working families.

Increasing inventory of affordable housing connected to opportunity

The partnership is the latest in a series of actions Executive Constantine has taken to increase the inventory of affordable housing that’s connected to high-capacity transit.

Today, he will send to the County Council his plan to invest $48 million in transit-oriented development, with mixed-income housing connected to shopping, schools and job centers. Using new authority granted by the Legislature, King County will borrow against future revenue generated from lodging taxes to pay for the investments.

In February, he announced $7 million for capital projects that will create an additional 237 units of affordable housing, including units reserved for military veterans and residents who have previously been homeless. He also announced $10 million for services that help families and individuals remain in housing through case management, help finding employment and other services.


Relevant links


Quotes

To ensure a strong, thriving middle class in our region, we must have more housing that is both affordable and connected to opportunity. By joining forces with the King County Housing Authority, we will deliver more than two thousand units of affordable housing countywide – near mass transit and in vibrant neighborhoods.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

Every jurisdiction across our region has a responsibility to do what it can to address our homelessness crisis and work to ensure that people have their most basic need met – a safe place to lay their head at night. The approach announced today does just that. No one jurisdiction can do this alone. This is a regional problem, and we must have regional solutions.

Joe McDermott, King County Council Chair

Equitable access to housing near high capacity transit areas is critical to the health and wellbeing of working families. It’s important to move quickly to acquire these properties as costs rise.

Jeanne Kohl-Welles, King County Councilmember

Working families in South King County need safe and affordable homes with access to transit. This is a smart investment that can help bring stability and economic security to people who need it most.

Dave Upthegrove, King County Councilmember

Everyone deserves a safe, affordable roof over their heads. Our kids deserve to grow up in a community where they have access to opportunities like a quality education, stable housing, and reliable transit service. Being able to harness King County’s authority to generate more affordable units near transit facilities, we are building a diverse, mixed-use and mixed-income community that will lift up our region and ultimately make us stronger.

Claudia Balducci, King County Councilmember

This partnership leverages the County’s credit authority to support the County’s social equity and smart growth agenda. County government’s support enables KCHA to work with the market to set the stage for the long term social and economic health of the region.

Stephen Norman, Executive Director of King County Housing Authority

HDC is excited to see the fruition of many years of perseverance in the formal launch of King County’s Transit Oriented Development Initiative. It is equally gratifying to have it occur during Affordable Housing Week as we together invoke our collective sense of urgency to take bold action.  Leveraging King County’s credit rating to add to the panoply of tools we need is a remarkable example!

Marty Kooistra, Executive Director of Housing Development Consortium

For more information, contact:

Chad Lewis, Executive Office, 206-263-1250


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography