February 2016 Joint Board Meeting

Last Wednesday, we had great attendance at our first joint board meeting of 2016 and first meeting at HASCO’s Jackson House property, an affordable rental property for seniors in Everett. The agenda included welcoming new officers and joint board representatives, a discussion of Snohomish County’s proposed housing policy changes, and a discussion of barriers to the use of 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits in our county. For all the details, read on:

I’m happy to announce that Mayor Jennifer Gregerson of Mukilteo will continue on this year as chair, while Councilmember Kyoko Matsumoto Wright will serve as our new vice chair.

Frank Slusser of Snohomish County PDS presented several proposed changes to the County’s housing planning policies. These changes involve adding objectives for tracking housing affordability on an ongoing basis, supporting transit oriented development, and other general language on expanding options for incentives and other supports to encourage diverse and affordable housing. In general, the changes are more focused on strengthening and updating existing policies, though the objective based on tracking affordable housing is entirely new. For more information on the proposed changes and to provide input, please contact Frank.

Finally, I gave a presentation on an underused financial resource for housing in our area – 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits. While the noncompetitive 4% variety have financed many projects in Snohomish County, our local providers are only rarely able to successfully use the competitive 9% option. It is so rare that, on a per capita basis, out of all the counties with successful applications from 2011-2016, Snohomish County received the fewest 9% tax credit dollars. In my presentation, which can be viewed here, I gave an overview of the basic mechanics of tax credits, how the 9% variety differ, and what State policies limit the ability of Snohomish County projects to be competitive. Fortunately these policies have been changing for the better in recent years, but there is still room for improvement. We’re looking forward to continuing this discussion in the future.

Our next meeting is currently scheduled for Wednesday, May 25th. We hope you can join us!

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