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Office of Housing 2020 Highlights

Office of Housing 2020 Highlights

The Office of Housing is excited to share some of our highlights of 2020. The image below represents achievements and services provided across most of our programs and initiatives. Along with spotlighting a historic level of new investment in a single year for the City, it also tracks ongoing construction and completion activity and the results of some of our direct service programs.    

Along with these accomplishments the Office of Housing made new strides as a national housing policy leader and a careful steward of affordable housing properties already in operation. This year’s unique challenges highlighted the crucial need for stable, affordable housing like never before, spurring our Asset Management and Finance units to develop and administer quick-response programs to stabilize people at risk of losing their homes.  A few examples follow. 

  • Completion of a groundbreaking Community Preference policy. Community Preference helps building owners address displacement and advance racial equity. It allows for a carefully crafted prioritization process when leasing or selling units in areas with a historical track record of displacement or at high risk of displacement.  
  • Design and implementation of two rental assistance programs. In addition to supporting United Way of King County in allocating millions of dollars of rent assistance to households who had been financially impacted by COVID and were unable to pay rent, millions more covered missed rent payments in subsidized properties that rely on rental income to sustain operations.   
  • Continued implementation of our Oil-to-Electric program for low-income homeowners. Twenty-four heating system replacements are underway to help move low-income homeowners to cleaner and more affordable heating technologies.
  • Our Asset Management and Planning and Programs units jointly published a comprehensive Multifamily Tax Exemption and Mandatory Housing Affordability/Incentive Zoning compliance manual. Assuring that building owners meet their obligations under these programs is one of the Office’s key stewardship functions; this manual’s clear guidelines help ensure that the City’s incentive programs provide their intended public benefits. 
  • The first-ever Permanent Supportive Housing Pilot combined capital funding with cutting-edge construction approaches to expedite project completion. Inclusive of the PSH pilot, for the first time in more than a decade the Office of Housing offered three rounds of competitive funding to more quickly support affordable rental and homeownership housing. The Office of Housing’s decision to increase the number of funding opportunities in a single year was made in direct response to the city’s urgent need for more affordable homes.   

In early 2021 the Office of Housing will release its Annual Investments Report for 2020 to provide a comprehensive summary of the achievements made in the past year to address Seattle’s affordable housing and homelessness crises.