The Latest News
September 2017

President's Message
Hello Colleagues and Friends,
I suspect that many of you are like me and have watched the news in horror over the last few weeks as communities were ravaged and destroyed by natural disasters. I am certainly sensitive to the impact that these events have had on everyone living in their path. But, as a housing professional, I am especially gripped by my concern for those served by our programs.
Indeed, there are so many forthcoming discussions surrounding the increasingly damaging impact these storms have on those living in poverty. Why are these communities most vulnerable? What development policies have created this vulnerability? How is it reversed? How do we ensure evacuation placement and opportunity to those we serve? And there are lessons learned. These are all future discussions.
Although, like many of you, I am concerned with the here and now. I have watched the events with a feeling of helplessness. Being so far removed, it seems there is little we can do. We can, however, send donations. If we can't be there to work, our money can. Please consider making a donation.
Our friends in Florida are still working to survive the storms and I will work to provide you donation opportunity information as I receive it. In the meantime, here is the information that has been provided by both Houston Housing Authority and Galveston Housing Authority.
Houston Housing Authority's nonprofit, Housing Resource, is accepting Pay Pal donations that will be used for residents impacted by Harvey. Donate Here!
Galveston Housing Authority has asked that you donate to one of the three local organizations that are working to assist residents. The organizations are Galveston County Food Bank, Galveston Diaper Bank or  Catholic Charities
During tragedy, humanity has the opportunity to rise above. We can be at the table for these policy discussions down the road. But for now, please consider donating. You can't be there to help, but your money can.
Regional News
Housing affordability, one issue at a time

The following is an 
opinion piece from the editorial board of the Kitsap Sun after Stuart Grogan, Kurt Wiest and several others spoke with them regarding the affordable housing crisis in Kitsap County.

The complexity surrounding an issue like housing affordability - with symptoms that range from homelessness to middle-income buyers being priced out of the market - means no single solution is adequate. We may increase the availability of subsidized housing, but that does nothing for first-time homebuyers who find themselves in bidding wars. New construction can alleviate some need for inventory, but the nature of that type of construction isn't likely to create new apartments priced for Olympic College students on their own for the first time. And the persistent issue of homelessness is only compounded when the market catches fire and increases pressure on rents.

couple-posing-home.jpgSo when Housing Kitsap Executive Director Stuart Grogan told our board that there may be 25 different questions with 25 different answers when seeking a solution to a looming threat, we agreed. That means it's time for the community to focus on actions that can make a difference in providing housing our community needs during this boom time in real estate. Close readers of the Sun know the efforts being made in different ways during 2017 - more density through apartment and condo construction in urban areas; self-help projects ongoing in different areas of Kitsap; Bremerton Housing Authority property acquisitions to increase the amount of subsidized housing available.   Read entire story here.

Cupid Alexander Appointed to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler's Staff

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has appointed Cupid Alexander to his staff as a Senior Policy Advisor, focusing on housing initiatives. He began August 22. Prior to accepting the position within Mayor Wheelers staff, Cupid worked as a Senior Housing Policy Analyst with the Portland housing bureau (PHB) after joining the bureau in 2015. As a member of the bureau's policy team, Cupid oversaw the development and implementation of the Bureau's North/Northeast Housing Preference Policy, worked as the bureau's district liaison to Northeast Portland, and worked to help develop and staff both the Stakeholder Advisory Board and the Bond Oversight Committee associated with the General Obligation Bond. Prior to joining PHB, Cupid worked for the Department of Housing Services of Washington County from 2003-2015. In addition to his work experience, Cupid is the incoming Senior Vice President of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council (PNRC) of The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO).      Read more here.

Congratulations to NAHRO's Award of Excellence Winners

award-header.gifAdministrative Innovation Category

Referral Voucher Program
To combat the overwhelming odds of leasing a rental for participants, the Spokane Housing Authority (SHA) created the Referral Voucher Program (RVP). Typically, after waiting years for a voucher, only 37% of voucher recipients were successful leasing a rental. In addition, it took about seven months from call-up to lease-up because of the complexity of verification requirements and area vacancy rates of 1.6%. RVP targets assistance to vulnerable households and pairs it with services aimed at securing and stabilizing housing for part call-up to lease-up participants. The results are an 84% lease-up success rate, taking an average of just 41 days from call-up to lease-up.
Spokane Housing Authority
Spokane, WA

Speakers of the House: An Investment in Employees
The most valuable asset any governmental agency has is its employees. As a large segment of the workforce prepares for retirement, King County Housing Authority (KCHA) recognized that a critical determinant of their organizational future is the degree to which they can retain, train, and advance their emerging leaders. Through their agency supported Toastmasters club called Speakers of the House, they created a space for staff to enhance their communication and leadership skills while building an organization where employees at all stages of their careers are encouraged to thrive and grow.
King County Housing Authority
Tukwila, WA
award-header.gifProject Design Category

Blue Springs Crossing Apartments
This project started with a land donation in what was thought to be the "perfect location" for low income families to live. The problem was the lot is a small triangle formally used as a watering pond for livestock, so how could it be converted into a jewel of a project nestled up against a high end single family home development? This would be the only apartment complex this community would have and a low income one to boot. The project had to fit in its place, look high end and prove everybody wrong who opposed it.  In order to do this, a courtyard design was used and the siding, roof, and color schemes were all chosen to fit into the existing community's look and feel.
Northeast Oregon Housing Authority
La Grande, OR
The Northeast Oregon Housing Authority in La Grande, OR, has been notified that they will receive a NAHRO National Award of Excellence for Blue Springs Crossing Apartments, in the Project Design category.   The award will be presented at the NAHRO National Conference in October, in Pittsburgh, PA.

This project also received the NAHRO National Award of Merit (pictured below) as well as a regional PRAIS Award

Left to right: NAHRO CEO, Adrianne Todman; NEOHA Director of Finance, Pamala Thompson; NAHRO President, Steve Merritt 

award-header.gif Resident and Client Services Category

A Book For Every Child Initiative
Recognizing that the key to breaking the cycle of poverty is education, the Housing Authority of the City of Pocatello (HACP) has taken a first step in its education plan by working to get books into the hands of the children they serve. The Book for Every Child Initiative insures every child that comes into the office or is listed on a form, is given an age appropriate book. Additionally, Free Little Libraries have been stocked with books at the HACP properties making book access easier for the children served.
Housing Authority of the City of Pocatello
Pocatello, ID

The Housing Authority of the City of Pocatello has been notified that they will receive a NAHRO Award of Excellence while attending the conference in Pittsburgh. The award is for HACP's Book For Every Child Initiative.

HACP also received the NAHRO Award of Merit for this program in July (pictured below) as well as a reigonal PRAIS Award.

Left to Right: NAHRO CEO, Adrianne Todman; HACP Executive Director, Sunny Shaw; HACP Commissioner, Karina Rorris and NAHRO President, Steve Merritt

Does your agency have a Free Little Library?  If so, please contact Karina at so she can add it to our national count.


KC HA has been awarded a $175,000 grant by HUD  

KCHA has been awarded a $175,000 grant by HUD  to install security cameras at two family public  housing communities - Seola Gardens (177 units) in White Center and Valli Kee Homes (116 units) in Kent , and five mixed-population properties: Boulevard Manor (70 units) and Yardley Arm s (67 units)  in Burien, Casa Madrona (69 units) in Olympia, Riverton Terrace II in Tukwila, Lake House (69 units) in Shoreline.  The selected communities were most at risk of experiencing escalating crime.


Bay Terrace Phase 2 
Ribbon Cutting

Senator Patty Murray, Congressmen Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer helped Tacoma Housing Authority (THA), residents and neighbors celebrate the completion of Bay Terrace in Tacoma's exciting Hilltop neighborhood. The program included remarks from residents, community leaders, and others who made this ambitious development possible. The program featured live music, refreshments from local artisans, and self-guided tours, with Mayor Marilyn Strickland as our Program Emcee.

Bay Terrace is THA's newest development in the Hilltop. THA demolished 81 old, unsightly public housing units. In their place, in two phases, THA has built a brand new community:
  • 144 affordable apartments for a range of incomes
  • walking distance to the coming light rail station on MLK Ave.
  • walking distance to public schools
  • more apartments accessible to persons with disabilities
  • financially sustainable operations
  • 7,000 sq. foot community building with Head Start classroom, computer lab and meeting space
  • appropriately higher density as directed by the city's comprehensive plan
  • environmentally responsible design
  • bigger tree canopy
  • designed for families, children, teenagers, and grandparents
  • outdoor play areas and gathering spaces
  • working gardens for residents
  • outdoor art


UW, Seattle Housing Authority plan to build affordable housing in the U District

SEATTLE-September 5, 2017-The University of Washington and the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) have signed a memorandum of understanding for the two organizations to develop affordable housing in the University District.

The goal is to create a minimum of 150 affordable units that will be income restricted to those making 60 percent or less of area median income. Units will be offered first to University faculty and staff who meet income requirements before being made available to the general public under the same income requirements. The project will also include housing and services for homeless young adults, and possibly other services such as childcare. Read entire press release here.

SHA to purchase site at Yesler from King County

SEATTLE-September 7, 2017-As part of the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace, the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) is purchasing a 48,000 square foot site in the eastern portion of the Yesler neighborhood. SHA and King County have signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement for the property at 1215 E Fir St., where King County has a records storage facility that it plans to relocate. The purchase price for the property is $7.1 million. The sale, if approved by the King County Council, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018.

SHA will be seeking a nonprofit partner to develop and operate approximately 125 affordable apartments, with an emphasis on family-size units. The location is near Bailey Gatzert School, which is attended by almost all of the elementary age children living at Yesler. Read entire press release here.


H urricane Harvey victims can skip steps to access affordable rental housing in Washington
SEATTLE, WASH. - The Washington State Housing Finance Commission has issued a waiver that allows victims of Hurricane Harvey to more quickly access housing in Washington State.
People displaced by the storm, and who earn less than 60% of area median income, can now skip several time-consuming steps when applying for tax-credit apartments in Washington State. They can remain in the housing through August 31 of next year before having to reapply and meet the normal requirements.
"We hope this waiver can help alleviate just one of the hardships endured by those who have lost their homes," said Karen Miller, chair of the Housing Finance Commission. "We stand ready to issue similar waivers for the Washington wildfires or Hurricane Irma if they are declared federal disasters." Read entire press release here.

andidates for NAHRO Leadership



  Register Now for the National Conference!

The 2017 NAHRO National Conference and Exhibition: Building Bridges to the Future will be held in downtown Pittsburgh, PA, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, October 27-29.  This can't-miss event will feature focused learning sessions, thought-provoking speakers, a solution-filled exhibit hall, a housing and community development tour coordinated by our local host agencies, networking opportunities, and much more!  Commissioners will also have a special opportunity to attend NAHRO's Ethics for Commissioners seminar while also attending the conference.  Check the conference website
regularly for program content updates.

Pittsburgh is a city that's continually recognized as a must-see destination. Most recently, Harper's Bazaar named Pittsburgh one of the "Best Places to Travel in 2017." With outstanding attractions, award-winning restaurants and world-class accommodations and, add to that, the friendly people, affordability and walkability, it's the perfect recipe for a memorable conference experience.   

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