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Advocacy Updates for February 2023






City of Puyallup - Code Amendments for HB 1220

On July 13, 2022, the City of Puyallup Planning Commission held a public hearing on code amendments related to emergency shelters, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing (PSH). Changes included the incorporation of definitions, new requirements for permitting these sites, and changes to where these sites can be located. AHC testified in opposition to new permitting requirements and expressed concern over the limitations placed on where emergency shelters can be located. The Planning Commission did not make a recommendation, and staff will be coming back to them with more information on HMIS, the number of PSH units in the city, and drafting an option for an over-the-counter type permit for PSH providers.

This issue is being tracked and will be updated when more information is available.

City of Tacoma - Sales Tax Deferral or Exemption for Affordable Housing (SB 5755)

There was a presentation on SB 5755 on the Government's Performance and Infrastructure on October 4, 2022. Staff reported their understanding of the bill, and Council had questions for them about the applicability and limitations of how the bill could be used. It was clarified that the bill is only applicable to surface parking lots. Based on calculations for the City of Tacoma, exempting sales tax on a $40M project on an annual basis would be a $400,000 hit to overall sales tax that would go to the general fund, then $40,000 to Tacoma Creates, Mental Health, and the Affordable Housing Fund. Council directed staff to look up what the process is for reporting and submitting applications. A presentation was made to the Government Performance Committee on February 21, 2023, at 10:00 AM. Staff was unable to attend the meeting and the video recording on the website is malfunctioning. We are working with City staff to get a recording of the video and will update this document when we have more information.

This issue is being tracked and will be updated when more information is available.


Pierce County Sales Tax to Support Affordable Housing

Pierce County Council will vote on whether to pass a 1/10 of 1% sales tax to fund affordable housing. This tax, which would only cost the average taxpayer an additional $16/year would generate ~$20M annually in desperately needed funding to address our affordable housing crisis. This is a measure that is already on the books in 9 counties and 21 cities in Western Washington. The Council vote was held on 12/13 where it was extended and rescheduled for

another hearing date of March 7, 2023. We will need testimony from AHC members

and partners in support of this.


AHC's 2023 Legislative Agenda

The Affordable Housing Consortium Board has voted to approve its 2023 Legislative Agenda in November of 2022. The Legislature reconvened for Session on January 9, 2023.

7TH Week of Legislative Session: February 24th was the Fiscal Committee cutoff where any bills that were sent to House and Senate Fiscal or Transportation Committees needed to be passed out of those Committees and moved to Rules in order to stay in motion. The next week and a half will see legislators on the Floor of their Chambers debating bills to move to the opposite Chamber.

Our priority bills, HB 1628 (REET) and HB 1474 (Covenant Homeownership Account) were both in Fiscal Committees. HB 1474 was passed to Rules Committee and will be heard on the House Floor. HB 1628 was not passed out of Committee, but we have heard from staff that it will be moved to NTIB (Necessary to Implement the Budget) which will not be subject to the cutoff calendar as the state budget now relies on this bill in order to be complete.

This month, AHC met with half of the Pierce County delegation to discuss our priorities. The delegation has seen our capital budget requests for affordable housing. It sounds like there is a clear consensus that Habitat for Humanity’s request for $14M will be included in the budget. 28th LD Legislators will be putting forward a request for $500,000 for LASA’s project as well.

Now the Fiscal Committee Cutoff has passed, budget discussions are heating up. Housing advocates are requesting funding for a variety of issues:

  • $400M in the Housing Trust Fund (up $200M from what the Governor included in his budget)

  • $160M to backfill the Document Recording Fee shortfall

  • $40M to increase homeless service worker wages

  • $40M to cover Aged, Blind, and Disability Programming

  • $26M to increase Housing and Essential Needs

AHC’s priorities focus on increasing the Housing Trust Fund request, backfilling the Document Recording Fee, and increasing funding for permanent supportive housing, along with fulfilling our members’ capital budget requests.

AHC is working with the WA Low Income Housing Alliance to advocate for an increase to the Housing Trust Fund. We are also working with Rep. Mari Leavitt (28th LD) to backfill the Document Recording Fee. In regard to Pierce County, this is the deficit we are seeing in our Document Recording Fee Dollars:

Revenue Collected For Affordable Housing DRF (2060):

2021 - $1,631,326

2022 - $1,106,362

Difference: -$524,964

These funds support capital development/preservation (acquisition, construction, and/or rehabilitation) of affordable housing, operating and maintenance costs of affordable rental housing, and emergency shelter operations. All funds support households with income at or below 50% of AMI.

Revenue Collected For Homeless-DRF funding:

2021 - $10,159,828

2022 - $6,130,029

Difference: -$4,029,799

These funds support Administration, Street Outreach Services, Coordinated Entry, Day Shelter, Overnight Shelter, Transitional Housing, Rapid Rehousing, and Permanent Supportive Housing.

Total Shortage: -$4,554,763

With the large budget requests to support the Document Recording Fee, and the opportunity for the passage of HB 1628, which includes dollars for the Apple Health and Homes Program (including permanent supportive housing) we are not pushing for additional investment into permanent supportive housing at this time as it is covered in other areas.

To see updates on AHC’s legislative priorities, please view our Bill Tracking Document linked below.

Black Homeownership Initiative (BHI)

AHC signed on in support of the Black Homeownership Initiative in the Fall of 2022. Since then, Tacoma has started its own working group and meets every other month to discuss Tacoma-specific issues related to the BHI Framework. AHC has been involved in state-wide discussions and is a member of the Policy Working Group and the Covenant Reinvestment Working Group.

Topics of conversation are a Community Preference ordinance for the City of Tacoma, getting funding assistance for local developers, and assessing whether the revenue from Pierce County’s sales tax to support affordable housing would be used for homeownership.


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