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Seattle Housing seeks partners to provide low-income housing

Fifty project-based rental vouchers offered through city process

SEATTLE—September 17, 2009—Working in partnership with the City's Office of Housing, Seattle Housing Authority is making available 50 project-based rental vouchers to qualified nonprofit organizations. The vouchers will make it possible for selected organizations to offer housing units to extremely-low-income residents, those with incomes below 30 percent of median income, for 40 years. The deadline for organizations to apply for these vouchers has been extended until Wednesday, September 23, 2009.

"These vouchers are part of the Housing Authority's commitment to maintaining and increasing the city's stock of low-income housing," noted Lisa Cipollone-Wolters, director of rental assistance and housing advocacy.

With the redevelopment of Seattle Housing Authority's family communities at NewHolly, Rainier Vista and High Point took, low-income units have been "de-concentrated" from these areas and spread across the city. Early in the process, Seattle Housing committed to replacing all of the low-income units that were demolished through the redevelopments.

Through a notice of funding availability (NOFA), Seattle Housing and the City are soliciting proposals for use of these 50 project-based vouchers by nonprofit housing developers. Details of the NOFA are available on the Office of Housing website.

Many nonprofit housing developers provide affordable rental housing that meets the needs of residents earning between 30 and 60 percent of Area Median Income. With receipt of the additional subsidy that a project-based voucher provides, a nonprofit housing developer can provide rentals that are affordable well below this level.

This offering of vouchers is designated to subsidize replacement housing for units that were demolished during the redevelopment of the High Point community. Subsidies will support an inventory of housing units that contain two or more bedrooms, and/or serve elderly or disabled households with on-site supportive services. The units must be designated for households with incomes of 30 percent or less of Area Median Income.

The housing developer applying for the voucher must be committed to keeping the housing unit in its inventory and available for rent to low-income residents for at least 40 years.

Preference will be given to mixed-income projects located in neighborhoods that do not already have a high percentage of households subsidized with vouchers.

Because the voucher subsidy is from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Renewal, the project will need to undergo a review to determine if any other federal funds were involved in the original financing of the project.

Funding sources requiring this "subsidy layering" review include low-income housing tax credits, tax-exempt bonds, HOME funds and McKinney Supportive Housing Funds that provide funding to house homeless people.

The use of other federal funds does not automatically exclude the project from eligibility for these voucher. However, voucher subsidy may not duplicate other rental subsidy that the organization is already receiving.

In order to be eligible for these vouchers, housing units must pass inspection by a Seattle Housing Authority inspector who will insure that the units meet federal housing quality standards.