Tacoma Municipal Building. (Photo credit to Visitor7 via Wikipedia Commons)

Tacoma has adopted a new affordable housing action strategy that aims to reach 10,500 households over 10 years–-a plan that will mean a $70 million housing investment, paid for from a mix of public, private and philanthropic resources. The strategy tackles four main areas: production of new homes, preservation of existing affordable homes, anti-displacement and removing barriers to housing.

The strategy aims to build 6,000 new units over 10 years while preserving another 2,300 of existing affordable units, as well as serve 1,200 households through anti-displacement measures and 1,000 households through removing barriers to housing. Futurewise staff on the ground in Tacoma have been active in advancing these local policies that will both increase supply and protect existing affordable housing.

With regards to fighting displacement, in last month’s Wonkabout Washington, we shared our work with the Tacoma Tenants Organizing Committee (who recently won the Nancy Amidei Movement Builder Award from the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance) to improve tenant protections in Tacoma. The new affordable housing action strategy specifically highlights the need to prevent displacement and increase funding for relocation assistance for displaced tenants.

In the past month, the TTOC has successfully built momentum in Tacoma to pass new legislation that includes a broad set of measures that will help prevent displacement and protect tenants against bad landlords. Our Tacoma Community Outreach Coordinator Molly Nichols co-wrote a recent op-ed with a local tenant leader highlighting what’s included in the proposed legislation, including $2,000 relocation assistance funds provided to displaced tenants and allowing installment payments for move-in costs. We expect the Tacoma City Council to pass this legislation later in October with new protections taking effect in February 2019.

Futurewise has also been advocating to increase the housing supply in Tacoma through new ADU legislation. The City has proposed new code that would allow ADUs across the city. Futurewise supports this new code and is also advocating for additional opportunities to incentivize affordable housing. We are recommending for homeowners interested in building an ADU to get free architectural designs, waived fees, expedited permitting or other incentives if they agree to provide the unit for someone experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. We expect this new legislation to go through council in November or December of 2018.

Home & Hope Site Mapping Tool

Futurewise is excited to announce the live beta of the Home & Hope Site Mapping Tool, a tool we developed with Enterprise Community Partners that allows you to filter tax-exempt land within King County’s urban growth area to find potential sites for affordable homes and early learning centers.

We’re especially pleased that the release of the tool coincides with the recent resolution passed by Seattle City Council that requires city departments to prioritize affordable housing development when disposing of surplus public land. Land costs are one of the biggest barriers to developing new affordable housing. Our hope is that this tool, combined with the resolution from city council, provides a framework to identify new opportunities for affordable housing in neighborhoods across Seattle and throughout King County.

The Site Mapping Tool is part of Enterprise Community Partners’ Home & Hope Initiative, helping to transform underutilized land into quality homes connected to early childhood education opportunities. Futurewise provided technical support in developing the tool with Enterprise.

With the tool, you can view parcels on the map, export a list, view a data summary and link through to the King County Parcel Viewer and Enterprise Opportunity360 to learn more about specific locations, understand communities and improve outcomes. Take a look! And let us know if you have any feedback about the tool. Just email our Data Analyst Tiernan Martin with your thoughts.

Article Author

Futurewise works throughout Washington State to encourage healthy, equitable, and opportunity-rich communities and to protect our most valuable farmlands, forests and water resources through wise land use policies and practices. Founded to help support implementation of the first-in-the-nation Growth Management Act, we focus on directing equitable growth into our urbanized areas and preventing the conversion of wildlife habitat, open space, farmland, and working forests to subdivisions and development.