The Latest News
January 2017
President's Message

Hello Housers,
In our industry, recognizing the value and equality of all individuals is core to meeting the mission of the work we do. Housing is not a privilege to be granted to only those who sound or look like we do. Furthermore, it is important that PHA staff represent the diverse groups we serve.  This month we have the opportunity to remember and celebrate the life of a true American hero, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For this reason, I would like to talk with you about the importance of diversity.
Our work is people centered. As a result, we must always be mindful of, and compassionate towards, the populations we serve. Asking for help is a humbling experience. It can seem even more intimidating when the office that offers that help feels like navigating a foreign land. What can we do to change this experience? Some guidelines are laid out by AFFH. If we do not have people who speak the language of the populations we serve, we must have access to translation services. We must make this access obvious to all who enter our offices. My challenge to you, however, is not to simply meet the basic expectations as laid out by a regulatory body, but to go a step further. When jobs open in our agencies, look beyond the basic mode of advertisement and look at methods to reach into our diverse communities. Let's work to hire with diversity in mind! Many agencies are skilled at this already. But for some, this may be the start of the journey. Our clients will feel more welcome when our offices represent the rich tapestry of our communities.
When our agencies reflect the diversity of our communities, it is not only the clients we serve who will benefit. Our agencies will reap huge rewards, as well. A table filled with homogeneous leadership will generate homogenous ideas, which can stifle growth. On the flip side, a table filled with diverse leadership can lead to incredible creativity and growth. We need this creativity to help insure the sustainability of our agencies.
As I stated previously, many in our region truly lead the way in recognizing the importance of diversity among our staff and leadership. I am so proud to be from a region whose agencies are walkin' the walk. If you aren't quite there yet, this is the month to commit to help carry Dr. King's dream forward. 

Regional News
Energy program finances new Seattle homes, upgrades to historic Tacoma theater

SEATTLE, Wash. - Thanks to $1.8 million in loans from the Washington State Housing Finance Commission's Sustainable Energy Trust (SET), a historic theater in Tacoma and four new townhomes in Seattle will save their owners thousands in energy costs.

The loans from the SET will finance energy retrofits at the Pantages Theatre in Tacoma and the construction of four energy-efficient homes on Seattle's Beacon Hill.

"The Commission supports energy efficiency in all facets of our community," said Karen Miller, chair of the Housing Finance Commission. "Whether it's a family or a local theater, energy savings make a huge difference in annual expenses."
The new Seattle townhomes, built by local company Green Canopy Homes using a SET loan, will each be three levels, just over 1,000 square feet, and highly efficient as a Built Green 4-Star home.

Each will also be available at an affordable price point for families earning under $97,000 a year through the Commission's EnergySpark Home Loan program, which allows borrowers to save on their interest rate when they purchase a highly-efficient home. Borrowers are also eligible for downpayment assistance.

This development marks the Commission's seventh collaboration with Green Canopy, a Seattle for-profit company that builds and remodels houses using leading efficiency methods and sustainable materials.

"We are thrilled to work with the Commission," said Aaron Fairchild, CEO of Green Canopy, Inc. "Throughout our time together we have collectively worked to push our resource efficiency and affordability efforts further and have tried to blaze a path for other builders to follow."

In Tacoma, the Commission partnered with the Broadway Center for Performing Arts to finance interior energy retrofits for the historic Pantages Theatre. Constructed in 1918 and restored in 1983, it is the oldest of 22 vaudeville theaters built along the West Coast for Alexander Pantages.

The theater used financing from the Sustainable Energy Trust to restore and replace 200 single-paned windows and replace flood lights and theater signs with LED fixtures and lamps. These renovations will generate savings of approximately 39% in natural gas and 4% in electricity, significantly reducing annual energy bills.

"This low-interest loan has enabled us to improve our historic building and do so in a timely manner, irrespective of donor pledge collections," said David Fischer, executive director of the nonprofit Broadway Center for the Performing Arts. "Our project has stayed ahead of cost inflation, had a timely completion to best suit our facility use, and kept our leadership team's blood pressure in check."

For more information about SET and EnergySpark, visit and


Photo credit: Bill Wagner,
The Daily News
Anthony Campbell was a high school sophomore when his family was evicted from their Kelso home three years ago.

Since then he, his mom and his 13-year-old brother have been homeless, moving from motel to motel or sleeping in their car. Anthony, now 17, is one of hundreds of homeless youth in Cowlitz County.

"We have to grow up a lot quicker than most kids," Anthony said. "We don't have a lot of things handed to us. We have to really struggle for what we get."

Social workers say there's a nationwide homeless crisis among youth, and the numbers in Cowlitz County are especially stark, according to the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. In the 2014-2015 academic year, 430 students in the Longview School District - 6.3 percent of the student body, double the state average - were homeless. Kelso had 231 homeless students, or 4.7 percent of the student body.


Pilot Progra m will open seasonal farm worker housing in Granger to homeless families          

Cosecha Court in Granger, which serves as seasonal farmworker housing from April through November, will be repurposed to house homeless families for the first three months of 2017.

A new pilot program in Granger - the first of its kind in the nation - will turn seasonal farm worker housing into shelter for homeless families this winter.

The 10 fully-furnished units of seasonal farm worker housing provide 76 beds total, and are in use from April through about Thanksgiving, says Lowel Krueger, Yakima Housing Authority executive director.

But in the winter, the units sit empty.

So Krueger applied for a waiver with both the state Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Program to get permission to repurpose the rental units for January through March. Commerce approved it earlier in December, and USDA approval just came in a few days ago, so the project can now move forward.


Oregon Adopts First Inclusionary Housing Policy

State law prevented local municipalities from adopting Inclusionary Housing programs until Senate Bill 1533 passed in the 2016 legislative session, lifting the statewide pre-emption. In the months following the bill's passage the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) worked to develop a program for Portland together with a panel of industry experts representing housing, development, and community members to advise on the policy and inform the details of the proposed program.

The program will require developments with 20 or more units to reserve 20 percent of those units for households at 80 percent of the Area Median Income (or $58,650 for a family of four), with additional incentives for developers to include more deeply affordable units for households at 60 percent AMI (or $43,980 for a family of four).

"We are grateful to the development community and housing advocates for their great effort and commitment in helping the housing bureau and Commissioner Saltzman craft a well-balanced policy that harnesses the creative energies of the housing development industry to ensure that Portland is an equitable and inclusive city," said PHB Director Kurt Creager.

The Inclusionary Housing policy will go into effect February 1, 2017.

In December, Portland City Council also approved the acquisition of 263 units of privately owned rental housing to prevent displacement and add more affordable housing for low-income families. The purchase of the Ellington Apartments is the City's first acquisition using the Affordable Housing Bond approved by Portland voters in November. 
The Ellington Apartments consists of 263 garden-style/townhouse units on nearly 11 acres-95 percent of the units are sized to accommodate families. The property was being aggressively marketed toward higher-income clientele.

 "The Ellington has more family-sized housing and larger units than anything currently being offered or developed in the private market," said Portland Housing Bureau Director Kurt Creager. "The number of two- and three-bedroom units gives us an uncommon opportunity to serve more than 250 families with children in a great location with transit options and nearby parks."

The property will be purchased for $47 million, including $37 million in bond funds. The Housing Bureau proposes to provide at least 80 units of housing for extremely low-income families at or below 30 percent of the Area Median Income (currently $22,050 for a family of four).


RegNews7 2 017 PNRC-NAHRO Annual Conference

Stacking the Deck for Success!

The 2017 Conference will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton 
in Portland, Oregon on April 23-25, 2017.

Registration is only $260 for early bird members.

For more information or to register,  click here.

Interested in becoming an Exhibitor or Sponsor?  click here.

Commissioners Committee NatNews2

The mission of the Commissioners Committee for NAHRO is to broaden the constituency supporting the goals and objectives of the Association; support programs to expand the skills of commissioners to effectively discharge their responsibilities; and to work with staff, leadership and membership at all levels of the Association in fulfillment of these purposes. The vision of the Committee is to have the unique ability and be well positioned to: advocate for programs, policy and necessary resources to address local housing needs in our respective communities; to be effective spokespersons for responsible public policy impacting housing and community development concerns at the national level and to empower commissioners to become housing and community development Ambassadors in our communities and wherever possible at the state and national levels. Committee members support a wide range of meaningful advocacy opportunities nationwide.

The Committee is comprised of 3 representatives from each Region, 14 who are Presidential at-large members. Of the presidential appointments, there is at least one representative from each region and one of the three regional appointees is a Regional Vice President.

In support of the Committee's mission and vision, activities have been developed by the Committee:
  1. Little Free Libraries
  2. Spot On Advocacy
  3. Commissioners Mentoring Program
The goal of the Committee is to create 100 "Little Free Libraries" by the end of 2017. As of July 2016, 61 of these libraries have been created in various areas across the nation. This initiative offers residents living in public housing, especially children, the opportunity to explore the world of reading and to enhance reading skills. You may find more information on how to create these libraries in your area at Little Free Library Information

"Spot on Advocacy" is an initiative created to show NAHRO members how to navigate the Advocacy Action Center which is used to create and send letters to respective members of Congress in a timely manner. Letters are designed to advocate for necessary policy reform and program budgetary support. Spot on Advocacy efforts resulted in over 300 letters being sent to Congress during the October 2016 National Conference in New Orleans, close to 1000 letters being sent to Congress by the time they reconvened on November 15, 2016 and over 1000 letters being sent in the August 2016 Advocacy campaign.

The "Commissioners Mentoring Program" is an initiative that offers enhanced support and networking opportunities for new commissioners or those seeking continued guidance and support. As of October 2016, 13 Commissioner Mentors have been identified from all regions, Commissioner Mentor List .

The Commissioners Committee is highly committed to supporting NAHRO efforts at the national, regional and local levels, our Executive Directors and staff at our local agencies and are passionate about making a positive impact and difference in the lives of those we serve.

The Commissioners serving from Pacific Northwest Regional Council are:

Regional Vice President for Committee
Karina Mason-Rorris, Commissioner, Housing Authority of Pocatello

Deborah Thiele, Commissioner, Seattle Housing Authority
George Perez, Jr., Commissioner, Everett Housing Authority


NatNews3Awards of Merit in Housing and Community Development - 
2017 Application Deadline is January 13th

About the Program:

The NAHRO Agency Awards Program was created to give national recognition to the achievement and innovation of NAHRO agency/organizational members throughout the country; to provide additional opportunities to inform the public of the best in housing and community development; and to create a resource bank of information on significant, innovative activities performed by housing and redevelopment agencies and community development departments.  Since 1989, NAHRO has honored more than 5,900 programs.

The Agency Awards Program is a two-tiered program consisting of the Awards of Merit and the Awards of Excellence.  The first tier of the program, the Awards of Merit, are submitted to National NAHRO and sent to Regional Juries for review.  The second tier of the program, the Awards of Excellence, are selected from the Award of Merit winners nominated for an Award of Excellence by the Regional Juries.  They are sent to National Juries who may select up to 24 Awards of Excellence in a given year.

The Awards Application consists of two main parts.  A Program Summary that describes the program in 100 words or less and a Program Narrative that creates an overview of the program that addresses a set list of questions/topics in 2,400 words or less. 
For more information, please review the 2017 Awards Flyer.


Looking for a new job or just want to see what's out there?


Bookmark the Job Openings page on our website to see. 

Positions are updated regularly.


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