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HUD No. 05-WA-02
Pamela Negri
(206) 220-5356

For Release
January 13, 2005


Spokane County and the Tacoma Consortium recognized for their innovative use of HOME funding

SEATTLE – The Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that its is recognizing 20 state and local governments around the country with the first national HOME Doorknocker Award for their outstanding work in providing affordable housing to low-income and underserved people. The Tacoma Consortium and Spokane County are among those communities honored for their outstanding affordable housing programs. (Project summaries and contact information at end of release.)

The Tacoma Consortium was selected for the first-time homebuyer program administered by the Homeownership Center of Tacoma in the Hilltop neighborhood. Spokane County was selected for innovative project design for Riverwalk Point I, which demonstrates a collaborative effort to develop affordable housing incorporating sustainable design and building practices.

“Whether it’s providing homeownership opportunities to lower income families looking to share in the American Dream or designing cutting edge affordable housing, these communities are proof that, working together, we can make a real difference,” said Jackson. “These communities are leading the way toward building better communities and opening more doors to people who are most in need.”

“We are pleased that the Tacoma Consortium and Spokane County’s HOME programs are receiving national recognition for their innovative efforts in providing much needed affordable housing in Tacoma and Spokane County,” said John W. Meyers, HUD’s Regional Director.

HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson announced the awards to fifteen local communities and five state governments for their remarkable work in using federal funding provided through HUD’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program. The announcement of the Doorknocker Awards also marks the 15th anniversary of the HOME Program, the largest federal block grant program dedicated to producing affordable housing at the local level. The full list of awardees is available at http://archives.hud.gov/news/2005/pr05-004.cfm.

Awards will be presented at HUD’s HOME 15th Anniversary Local Government Celebration on January 18th at the Wyndham Hotel in Washington, D.C. with the National Community Development Association (NCDA), the National Association for County Community and Economic Development (NACCED), and the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA).

Kasey Kramer, Director of Community Services Department, Spokane County will accept the award for Spokane County. The City of Tacoma has not yet designated who will accept its award.

Each year, HUD allocates approximately $2 billion to more than 600 state and local participating jurisdictions to increase the stock of affordable housing. Since program inception, over 550,000 affordable units have been completed and nearly 114,000 tenants have received rental assistance through the Department’s HOME program.

Each award-winning project demonstrates how state and local governments can use the flexibility provided by the HOME program to meet the unique challenges of housing low-income families and expanding homeownership opportunities. These projects can serve as models for other jurisdictions throughout the country.

HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation’s fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.

Project Summaries:

Spokane County for Innovative Project Design (Riverwalk Point I) Partners:

Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs; Sustainable Housing Innovation Partnership; State of Washington Community Trade and Economic Development; Washington Housing Finance Commission; National Equity Fund; Paul Allen Foundation; Washington Mutual Foundation; Foundation Northwest; Avista; Impact Capital; Common Ground; US Bank Foundation; State of Washington Department of Ecology; Spokane Regional Solid Waste System; Pomegranate Center; KOP Construction; BWA Architects.

This project demonstrates a collaborative effort to develop affordable housing incorporating sustainable design and building practices.

Riverwalk I, the first phase of a larger affordable housing project, is a 52-unit new construction project that targets very low-income and extremely low-income families, particularly larger families and persons with special needs. Fifty of the units are HOME-assisted, 10 of which are used as Housing for the Homeless. Both the State of Washington and Spokane County provided HOME funds to the project, including a technical assistance loan from the County.

The Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs (SNAP), a community housing development organization (CHDO), acted as owner and developer of the project and the Sustainable Housing Innovation Partnership, a collaborative effort of more than 70 local, state and national partners, worked for more than 4 years to bring the project to fruition. Riverwalk I extensively incorporated sustainability features and building techniques, including use of environmentally-friendly and recycled building materials, energy efficient appliances, water efficient fixtures, and drought resistant vegetation. The project also incorporates functional community artwork. Riverwalk I has not just provided affordable housing to low-income families, it has altered the local perception of what affordable housing looks like.

Timothy E. Crowley
Spokane County Housing and Community Development
(509) 477– 4488

Tacoma Consortium’s Homeownership Program (Homeownership Center of Tacoma) Partners: Washington State Housing Trust Fund, local banks

The first-time homebuyer program administered by the Homeownership Center of Tacoma in the Hilltop neighborhood demonstrates how structured financing for affordable housing can achieve sustainable homeownership.

The Homeownership Center of Tacoma (HCT) acquires in-fill properties to rehabilitate or construct new housing. HCT’s houses are well designed and compliment the existing housing in the neighborhood. These properties are made available to low-income first time homebuyers for purchase along with homeowner education, money management, and credit counseling. The Homeownership Center of Tacoma offers a unique financing package - one tailored to the household’s income. Homebuyers pay only 30 percent of their household income towards the monthly payment through a mortgage loan while HCT holds a soft second mortgage financed by Washington State trust funds. The 2nd mortgage covers the difference between the first mortgage and the sales price of the home. The Tacoma Consortium uses HOME funds to provide HCT with a developer subsidy to offset acquisition and construction costs as well as a buyer subsidy for closing costs. This strategy insures long-term affordability for families and minimizes the potential for default.

Ryan Petty
Tacoma Director of Economic Development
(253) 591-5139


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