Passage of Capital Budget Keeps Hope Alive for Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits
Last week, the Washington State Legislature passed the state’s Capital Budget, ending several months of gridlock that began during last year’s legislative session.
Included in the Capital Budget is $106.7 million for the Housing Trust Fund, the state program that awards funding for affordable housing projects. This money means that thousands of people across Washington will get the homes they need. We are thankful for the strong leadership from Speaker Frank Chopp, Senate Majority Leader Sharon Nelson, and Governor Inslee in navigating several controversial issues to get the budget finally passed.
We are already seeing the results from the Housing Trust Fund in the form of newly funded projects, including $1 million awarded to our grantee YouthCare and Capitol Hill Housing to create 53 units of affordable housing in Seattle.
Campion Advocacy Fund was proud to support the efforts of another one of our grantees, the Washington Housing Alliance Action Fund (WHAAF), to urge legislators to pass the Capital Budget at the beginning of this legislative session. WHAAF launched a comprehensive campaign throughout the state to target key legislators and advocate for swift passage of the budget. The campaign included digital media ads, news reports about the impact of the budget, and grassroots organizing on the ground in Olympia.
Our major goal was for the capital budget to be passed by Wednesday, January 17th – if the legislature missed that deadline, then many projects were at risk of losing out on millions of dollars in federal low-income housing tax credits.
Unfortunately, the deadline was missed by one day. However, all hope isn’t lost – housing advocates are optimistic that a fix can be made. As WHAAF put it, “the state Department of Commerce and the Washington State Housing Finance Commission must work together to find a way to ensure those projects can still access the final funds they need… We’re counting on these agencies to quickly develop a solution that ensures we don’t leave behind people in our communities who are struggling the most.”
We agree with WHAAF, and are hopeful that this issue can be resolved as soon as possible – low-income housing projects shouldn’t be penalized because of the legislature’s inability to pass a Capital Budget on-time.
Thank you for contacting your legislators and making your voice heard to pass the Capital Budget!