Redmond City Council approves affordable housing funds

Several items were approved at Tuesday’s Redmond City Council meeting, including some dealing with the budget process.

A timeline for budget planning was approved by the council that lays out a timeline for the process.

Key dates include public hearings on June 19, Oct. 16 and Nov. 20 as well as the council adopting the 2019-2020 budget on Dec. 4.

Funding for A Regional Coalition on Housing (ARCH) budget and works program for the coming year was approved in the amount of $75,890, representing an increase of 2.5 percent over last year.

ARCH is an organization that works with local governments to preserve and increase affordable housing.

For its 2018 budget, the organization decided to maintain an objective of spending $1 million or more annually to preserve at least 75 affordable units in a variety of housing types.

ARCH will be looking to increase affordable housing contracts and monitor rents and resales of affordable units in Redmond.

It will also help the city increase affordability for new houses in Overlake and southeast Redmond and assist with implementing a property tax exemption for developers who create affordable housing units.

Additionally, ARCH stated it will keep working with the city to ensure anti-discrimination in compliance with Redmond’s Section 8 ordinance for affordable housing.

There are currently 1,612 units classified as “affordable” in Redmond.

However, this is often a misrepresentation of what most people view as affordable since units are classified as affordable if a family making 80 percent or less than the King County median income can afford to pay 30 percent or less of their income on housing.

The median income for the county is around $75,000, according to county data, meaning an “affordable” unit comes out to around $1,700 a month in rent per household.

On top of this amount, the city council approved $616,220 from the CIP Housing Trust Fund and $221,168 from the Community Development Block Grant fund to be put toward affordable housing initiatives.

The $221,168 will go toward Catholic Community Services of Western Washington and Sophia Way’s proposed permanent winter shelter for women and families.

It would replace a temporary winter location and day center. The new shelter would be located in the Rose Hill neighborhood in Kirkland.

From the Housing Trust Fund’s total, the city will put $23,771 toward the Congregation for the Homeless men’s homes. The congregation plans to buy and remodel three homes with six bedrooms each that would serve as a group living for homeless men.

Some $195,560 of the Housing Trust Funds would be put toward the Imagine Housing proposition that would create a 130-unit family rental project with 128 units being affordable for households at 30, 40, 50 and 60 percent of the area median income.

Finally, there would be $316,953 from the Housing Trust Fund put toward the Trailhead project in Issaquah that will provide 155 units of affordable housing for families earning less than 60 percent of the area medium income.

Also at the council meeting, Vanessa Kritzer was appointed to the planning commission and Glenn Steadman and Rob Leavitt were appointed to the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.

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