Gov. Inslee Prioritizing Affordable Housing in 2023 Legislative Session

During a press conference on Wednesday, Nov. 2, Governor Jay Inslee said affordable housing will continue to be a top priority again during the 2023 legislative session.

The state’s population has grown by 25 percent since 2005, while the housing supply has only grown by 22 percent. With a deficit of about 76,000 units as of 2020 and a median home price that has increased 13.7 percent in just one year from 2019 to 2020, there is a housing affordability crisis throughout the state.

During his press conference, Inslee outlined three policies for the 2023 legislative session he will be focused on: 

  • Increasing density near transit corridors by creating a public-private partnership transit-oriented development program and establishing requirements around the number of units that are priced affordably.
  • Speeding up development by creating a new permitting pilot program and digital permitting platforms.
  • Helping lower-income first-time home buyers by expanding a tax incentive for people who sell their homes to first-time home buyers in the state’s home buyer program.

“Availability and affordability are two sides of the same coin,” Inslee said. “Affordable housing is necessary for preventing people from sliding into homelessness, for helping people transition out of shelters and into permanent housing, and for strengthening the ability of working people to establish economic stability and security.”

Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County CEO Brett D’Antonio was asked to speak briefly about where the non-profit fell within the housing continuum. While Habitat SKC serves a client that is gainfully employed and housed, prior to finding Habitat, many were often paying more than 50% of their income on rent, living in unsafe living conditions and at great risk of becoming homeless.

To learn about Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties’ legislative agenda for the 2023 session, click here – and make sure to send your lawmakers a note telling them that you stand with Habitat by clicking here!

$30,000 ADT Donation Provides Energy Efficient Heat Pumps for All 12 Homes in Highland Terrace

SEATTLE (October 18, 2022) ADT is partnering with Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County to build safe, smart and sustainable affordable housing at its West Seattle build site. As part of that partnership, members of the ADT team gathered at Highland Terrace to volunteer their time and build alongside future Habitat homeowners on Oct. 22. Through part of its generous donation of $30,000 to Habitat SKC, ADT made possible the installation of energy-efficient heat pumps in all 12 Highland Terrace homes. Not only are these units more sustainable but will allow the new Habitat homeowners to save on their monthly energy bills.

Habitat SKC will install Mitsubishi Ductless Heat Pumps at Highland Terrace. These 18,000 BTU ductless split systems will provide year-round efficient temperature control, on average saving homeowners 20%-40% on annual heating and cooling bills compared to combustion-based systems. They will provide for a healthy breathing environment with advanced filtration to manage allergens and clean the air as it is pumped into the house.

Using an electric-based system is a more environmentally friendly option compared to combustion-based systems, while also providing protection from rising energy costs, as oil and natural gas-based heating systems saw a 30-50% increase in energy costs in 2021, compared to only a 6% increase for households that heat primarily with electricity. Additionally, the project is being wired for electric vehicle charging. This smart technology will allow each parking spot to be “EV Ready” for any future homeowner to plug in their vehicles onsite.

On the safety front, results of a recent Habitat survey of current Habitat homeowners, 92% reported some, great or a very great level of improvement in feeling safe after purchasing their Habitat home.

Located in the Highland Park neighborhood of Seattle, this community will give 12 families a place to live in an area with high opportunity. This new community is near Habitat’s other newly constructed development, Trenton, and numerous parks, including Roxhill Park, Milo Park, Highland Park Playground, and Westcrest Park, as well as public, charter, and private school options. Quick and easy access to all area amenities, including favorite cafe’s, restaurants, parks and roller rink with White Center & Westwood Village both just minutes away along with express bus lines to Downtown Seattle.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Habitat for Humanity

In the spirit of ‘back to school,’ we turned to a recent interview between Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties CEO Brett D’Antonio and Bob Dittman of K-LOVE radio to gather a few facts you might not know about the organization. Click here to listen to the full interview.

  • Fact 1 – Habitat for Humanity wasn’t started by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter. Though the Carters are Habitat’s most famous supporters, the organization grew out of an interracial community in rural Georgia. In 1942, the families of Koinonia Farms started providing housing for each other, creating the model that later became Habitat for Humanity. And it’s been growing internationally ever since.
  • Fact 2 – Habitat doesn’t give homes away. Instead, it forms partnerships with potential homeowners who qualify for homes by demonstrating the need for safe, affordable housing; by showing they can pay a modest mortgage; and, most important, by committing to participate in a sweat equity program. That means 250 hours of working on their own or other Habitat homes with volunteers and future neighbors, or volunteering in a Habitat Store or home office. Future Habitat homeowners also attend classes on budgeting, mortgage documentation, even a budgeting class for kids. Another surprising fact — those classes are open to any family that needs to buy a home whether they’re buying through Habitat or not.
  • Fact 3 – Habitat goes beyond building homes.  Habitat SKC conducts a Critical Home Repair program to provide low-income families with important repairsso they can stay in their homes. Projects in the $15-$25,000 range like a new roof, or a new deck can be done at no up-front cost to the homeowner. Habitat’s Home Preservation Program provides minor repairs that can prevent the need for later critical repair. Habitat volunteers often work in neighborhood clusters so they can serve five or six homes in a single day. Habitat’s Aging In Place program supports individual seniors by adding needed fixes to their homes like grab bars, ramps, easier doorknobs and floors more suited to wheelchair traffic – all based on assessments from health care organizations.
  • Fact 4 – Habitat runs a Permanently Affordable Portfolio of Homes. To prevent Habitat homes from ending up on the open market, Habitat buys them back from Habitat homeowners when they move on to buy homes on their own. In those cases, Habitat facilitates home sales from one Habitat buyer to another. One of Brett’s favorite stories is of a Habitat home built on Whidbey Island by active-duty Naval staff for a single mom. She later married and got a better job, so she could buy a home on her own in her new location. Habitat sold that home to another Habitat family who moved on to better circumstances two years later and sold the house to a third Habitat family. “That’s what we’re here for,” Brett said. “I’ll always remember how one house benefited three families in a short period of time.”
  • Fact 5 – Habitat Lobbies for Affordable Housing.  Through its Cost of Home (COH) Advocacy Campaign, Habitat has spent five years working the State Legislature to pass laws that reform policies like credit or land use access, any laws that make housing more affordable in the State. This year alone, the COH group was able to get $25M added to the State’s budget for affordable home ownership along with other affordable housing measures passed with the help of activists who wrote 9,600 messages to Washington legislators.

Habitat’s mission to create affordable, safe housing for everyone takes many forms, and these five facts are just part of the story. To learn more about Habitat for Humanity SKC and the many ways in which you can get involved visit: How to Help – Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties (habitatskc.org)

Seattle Times: Local DIYers share their tips for tackling a midsize home project in a single weekend

Home repairs and improvements boomed early in the pandemic, as people adapted spaces for work, school and relaxation. In fact, almost 80% of us tackled a project then, according to the Harvard report “Improving America’s Housing 2021.” 

DIY took a dip once consumers felt more comfortable allowing contractors inside again. But, the report states, that hasn’t necessarily been the case for Seattle homeowners, who lead the country in taking on their own renovating and repairing. 

To help you dig in, we’ve assembled advice from a few local do-it-yourselfers to help knock out midsize tasks quickly and smoothly over a weekend.

To read more, including tips from our repair manager Mike Inocencio, click the link.