Monthly Archives: January 2016

How can we fund more housing vouchers?

The HUD Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program is a major source of housing assistance for households with the lowest incomes in Snohomish County. It’s an excellent tool, as the vouchers can be used in any unit that accepts the vouchers and meets rent and safety standards, theoretically promoting mixed-income neighborhoods and providing deep assistance more affordably than through traditional public housing models. At the same time, this flexibility also limits the program’s use, as landlords will be less likely to accept vouchers in a tight market, and finding an acceptable unit that meets set rent standards can also be a challenge. In
addition, the program is limited by federal funding, so the supply of vouchers does not come close to the demand. In Snohomish County, there are currently 6,183 vouchers in use, compared to around 68,000 households earning less than 50% Area Median Income. (This is the line where it typically starts to become more possible to find an affordable rental unit in Snohomish County)

The program is essentially a lottery at present, with years-long wait lists, if a housing authority’s wait list is even open at all. Contrast this with the SNAP program (AKA food stamps), an entitlement-type program, where all who earn less than a certain income level can receive assistance. Could we do this with housing assistance as well? A post over at City Commentary makes an interesting case as to how it could be possible. For a summary, read on. Continue reading How can we fund more housing vouchers?

Lloyd Pendleton and Housing First

As part of its Streets Initiative, the City of Everett is hosting a series of community housing forums. The first, back in November, featured a presentation by Lloyd Pendleton. Mr. Pendleton was a leader in writing and implementing the State of Utah’s plan to end chronic homelessness, with fantastic success through a “housing first” model. I’m posting now as it has come to my attention that the presentation has been posted on YouTube, here, and I would encourage everyone to view it. Not only has this been a highly successful program with many practical lessons to observe, Mr. Pendleton is an engaging, inspiring speaker. More information on his work can be found on Everett’s site.

The next Community Housing Forum will take place on February 1st, with a continued conversation on local successes in housing first models. More information available here.