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Advocacy Updates for March 2023



CITY


COUNTY


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CITY


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)

In the 2022 Legislative Session, SB 5755 passed, which allows select municipalities to pass a sales tax deferral or exemption for affordable housing built on underdeveloped lands. AHC has met with Tacoma Councilmembers Rumbaugh, Hines, Daniels, and Bushnell to discuss passing a resolution allowing the exemption. AHC has identified four potential sites that could be utilized and estimates that with the development of 100 units per parcel, $1.25M could be saved per project, for a total potential of $5M. We are hoping to get the issue to Committee so city staff can provide more information and take it to Council for a vote. We also met with Senator Trudeau, the Prime Sponsor of the Bill, and requested that she send a letter to City Council and staff. The letter was sent from the 27th Delegation on July 14, 2022.


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




COUNTY


Pierce County Sales Tax to Support Affordable Housing

At the Pierce County Council meeting on December 13, 2022, the Council continued the Pierce County Council vote on Ordinance 2022-81s to March 7, 2023. While you will see the bill scheduled for March 7, please know that we anticipate the Council needs to continue the vote to the meeting on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at 3 PM. Work is actively ongoing to secure the 5th and final vote required for passage and this work is taking a little longer than originally anticipated.


Your work to keep telling the story about the need for this dedicated revenue is essential. Here are four things you can do to ensure we are successful on March 21:


1. Public Comment (Virtual or in Person):

There will be a final public hearing on ordinance 2022-81 on Tuesday, March 21 @ 3 PM where strong, supportive testimony is needed.

Zoom link for 3/21 Pierce County Council Meeting: https://piercecountywa.zoom.us/j/97661787423.

In-person testimony is more effective if you are able to make it, and meetings are conducted live in the County Council Chambers located at 930 Tacoma Avenue, 10th Floor.

2. Sign On Letter:

In addition to in-person or virtual testimony, we are asking individuals and organizations to add their names to our Community Sign-On Letter. This is a task you can complete in less than a minute and is a huge help for demonstrating the support of the community to council members. Please add your name and share widely within your personal and professional networks.

3. Email the Pierce County Council:

A final, equally important, way to get involved is by emailing the full council directly. This can happen at any time up until 3 PM on Tuesday 3/21. To email the full council, use PCCOUNCIL@piercecountywa.gov and share your reasons for supporting ordinance 2022-81s. Be sure to indicate clearly that you are emailing in support of 2022-81s and share any personal stories you may have as to why you are supportive of the measure. Short, sweet, personal, and direct, is best, and note that you are a Pierce County voter.

4. Spread the word!

Share these opportunities and why this is important to your networks via discussions, the civic networks you belong to, social media, etc., and urge others to engage in these ways.




STATE


Department of Commerce - Policy Advisory Team

Notes for March 7, 2023 Meeting

The Policy Advisory Team (PAT) met on Tuesday, March 7, 2023. Department of Commerce (DOC) staff provided updates on funding awards, requested input from the PAT on how to use the remaining Rapid Capital Housing Acquisition dollars, gave an update on the Homeownership Unit, reviewed legislative session and important bills, discussed the PAT Membership Workgroup, updated PAT on the Permanent Loan Policy Working Group, and did a brief summary on the Capital Equity Review Report. Important highlights from the meeting:


- For the last Housing Trust Fund round, there was $9.7M available for the Urban communities yet the request was made for $91M for 25 projects. DOC funded 7 projects, waitlisted 11 projects, and declined 4 projects.


- DOC is determining how to best use the remaining $88M of Rapid Capital Housing Acquisition dollars. The recommendation needs to be made by March 15th. The priority recommendation from DOC for remaining dollars was to be allocated as such: 1) Rapid Capital Waitlist 2) by Region to 2022 Housing Trust Fund Waitlist 3) by next priority project on the 2022 Housing Trust Fund waitlist (based on partial funding and readiness). PAT Members have suggested the following priority: #2, #3, then #1 because there is a feeling that rural communities were not able to access these dollars equitably across the state.

Note: Pierce County has projects on the waitlist for these funds, AHC has suggested that DOC's proposed prioritization be followed.


Please review the meeting notes provided by AHC for further information.



WA State Housing Finance Commission - 9% Stakeholder Metro Pool Meeting Notes

The WA State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC) held its annual 9% Metro Pool Stakeholder meeting on March 1, 2023. The meeting covered the topics of WSHFC's goals and reviewed results from a survey they sent out earlier this year for policy feedback.


WSHFC is looking to reset its policies to align with its goals:

  1. A more intentional, inclusive process

  2. Establish values for the program

  3. Reset thresholds and scoring criteria

  4. Streamline points

Ultimately, there will not be any major changes in 2023, but we should expect a more in-depth look at the policies moving forward. One of the major concerns is that because the Metro Pool switched to prioritizing locally selected projects, the points don't have as much weight or meaning. WSHFC wants to align points with its values and goals so this is where we will begin to see changes after 2023.


Please review the meeting notes provided by AHC for further information.





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