County allocates $2 million in funding for affordable housing projects

Posted May 21, 2022 at 10:49 am by

The Salal Neighborhood on Carter Avenue used Home Fund dollars to help with roof replacements

Fol­low­ing Coun­ty Coun­cil approval this past Tues­day, $2 mil­lion in fund­ing has been made avail­able for afford­able rental and home­own­er­ship projects through­out San Juan County.

That mon­ey will come from the County’s Home Fund, which gen­er­ates rev­enue from an excise tax of 0.5 per­cent on real estate trans­ac­tions. This is the third year that such fund­ing has been allo­cat­ed since vot­ers approved the excise tax in Novem­ber 2018.

Award­ed through a com­pet­i­tive appli­ca­tion process, Home Fund grants or loans are used to sup­port the acqui­si­tion, con­struc­tion, rehab, or main­te­nance of res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties for peo­ple with low or mod­er­ate incomes, or peo­ple with spe­cial needs. Both rental and home­own­er­ship projects are eli­gi­ble for fund­ing. Non­prof­its, hous­ing author­i­ties, pub­lic agen­cies, and pri­vate for-prof­it afford­able hous­ing providers can sub­mit proposals.

Pro­posed projects must address one of the six hous­ing needs iden­ti­fied by the County’s afford­able hous­ing strate­gic action plan, approved by the Coun­ty Coun­cil in March 2017:

  • Long-term rentals serv­ing indi­vid­u­als earn­ing $15–20 per hour, with a rent range of $680-$940 per month.
  • Long-term rentals serv­ing indi­vid­u­als with lim­it­ed or fixed incomes, with a rent range of $0-$680 per month.
  • Long-term rentals serv­ing indi­vid­u­als earn­ing over $20 per hour, with a rent range of $940-$2,000 per month.
  • Short-term, reduced-ameni­ty hous­ing – such as dorms, stu­dios, or shared occu­pan­cy units – serv­ing sea­son­al tem­po­rary work­ers, with a rent range of $400-$500 per month.
  • Home­own­er­ship units with a price range of $80,000-$275,000.
  • Hous­ing with sup­port­ive ser­vices, such as tran­si­tion­al or group housing.

All projects that receive Home Fund grants or loans are required to remain afford­able for at least 30 years fol­low­ing project com­ple­tion, but the Coun­ty gives high­est pref­er­ence to projects that will remain afford­able in per­pe­tu­ity. Prop­er­ty own­ers or man­agers are required to sub­mit annu­al reports of rents and ten­ant incomes so that the Coun­ty can ensure com­pli­ance with the long-term afford­abil­i­ty requirements.

Four projects on San Juan Island received Home Fund dol­lars in the last two years. The Har­borview Apart­ments on Tuck­er Avenue used fund­ing to pre­serve and upgrade exist­ing afford­able rental apart­ments, and to make infra­struc­ture improve­ments. San Juan Com­mu­ni­ty Home Trust used funds to help replace roofs on the per­ma­nent­ly afford­able homes in the Home Trust’s Salal neigh­bor­hood. Home Fund dol­lars also sup­port­ed site improve­ments on a Coun­ty-owned par­cel of land on Argyle Avenue so that the prop­er­ty can even­tu­al­ly be devel­oped with afford­able rental hous­ing. And $1.6 mil­lion in new con­struc­tion fund­ing was allo­cat­ed to the Home Trust’s eight-unit Hol­li­Walk com­mu­ni­ty, locat­ed on Price Street. That project broke ground ear­li­er this month.

Appli­ca­tions for Home Fund grants or loans are due July 15. The County’s Hous­ing Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee will make their fund­ing rec­om­men­da­tions to the Coun­ty Coun­cil in Sep­tem­ber, with the Coun­cil expect­ed to decide on those rec­om­men­da­tions by late fall. Fund­ing will make its way to the select­ed projects after fund­ing agree­ments are final­ized in spring 2023.

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