Chapter 43.185 RCW

HOUSING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Sections

43.185.010Findings.
43.185.015Housing assistance program.
43.185.020Definitions.
43.185.030Washington housing trust fund.
43.185.050Use of moneys for loans and grant projects to provide housingEligible activities.
43.185.060Eligible organizations.
43.185.070Notice of grant and loan application periodPrioritiesCriteria for evaluation.
43.185.074Low-income housing grants and loansApplications.
43.185.076Low-income housing grants and loansApprovalLicense education programs.
43.185.080Preconstruction technical assistance.
43.185.090Compliance monitoring.
43.185.100Rule-making authority.
43.185.110Affordable housing advisory boardState housing needs.
43.185.120Protection of state's interest.
43.185.130Application processDistribution procedure.
43.185.140FindingsReview of all housing propertiesEnergy audits.
43.185.910Conflict with federal requirements1991 c 356.

NOTES:

Donations of surplus state property: RCW 43.19.1920.
Funding: RCW 43.79.201 and 79.02.410.


Findings.

The legislature finds that current economic conditions, federal housing policies and declining resources at the federal, state, and local level adversely affect the ability of low and very low-income persons to obtain safe, decent, and affordable housing.
The legislature further finds that members of over one hundred twenty thousand households live in housing units which are overcrowded, lack plumbing, are otherwise threatening to health and safety, and have rents and utility payments which exceed thirty percent of their income.
The legislature further finds that minorities, rural households, and migrant farmworkers require housing assistance at a rate which significantly exceeds their proportion of the general population.
The legislature further finds that one of the most dramatic housing needs is that of persons needing special housing-related services, such as the mentally ill, recovering alcoholics, frail elderly persons, families with members who have disabilities, and single parents. These services include medical assistance, counseling, chore services, and child care.
The legislature further finds that housing assistance programs in the past have often failed to help those in greatest need.
The legislature declares that it is in the public interest to establish a continuously renewable resource known as the housing trust fund and housing assistance program to assist low and very low-income citizens in meeting their basic housing needs, and that the needs of very low-income citizens should be given priority and that whenever feasible, assistance should be in the form of loans.



Housing assistance program.

There is created within the department the housing assistance program to carry out the purposes of this chapter.



Definitions.

(1) "Contracted amount" means the aggregate amount of all state funds for which the department has monitoring and compliance responsibility.
(2) "Department" means the department of commerce.
(3) "Director" means the director of the department of commerce.



Washington housing trust fund.

There is hereby created in the state treasury an account to be known as the Washington housing trust fund. The housing trust fund shall include revenue from the sources established by this chapter, appropriations by the legislature, private contributions, repayment of loans, and all other sources. During the 2015-2017 fiscal biennium, the legislature may transfer from the Washington housing trust fund to the home security fund account and to the state general fund such amounts as reflect the excess balance in the fund.

NOTES:

Effective date2016 sp.s. c 36: See note following RCW 18.20.430.
Effective datesSeverability1991 sp.s. c 13: See notes following RCW 18.08.240.
Effective dateSeverability1987 c 513: See notes following RCW 18.85.285.
Distribution of interest from real estate brokers' trust accounts: RCW 18.85.285.



Use of moneys for loans and grant projects to provide housingEligible activities.

(1) The department must use moneys from the housing trust fund and other legislative appropriations to finance in whole or in part any loans or grant projects that will provide housing for persons and families with special housing needs and with incomes at or below fifty percent of the median family income for the county or standard metropolitan statistical area where the project is located. At least thirty percent of these moneys used in any given funding cycle must be for the benefit of projects located in rural areas of the state as defined by the department. If the department determines that it has not received an adequate number of suitable applications for rural projects during any given funding cycle, the department may allocate unused moneys for projects in nonrural areas of the state.
(2) Activities eligible for assistance from the housing trust fund and other legislative appropriations include, but are not limited to:
(a) New construction, rehabilitation, or acquisition of low and very low-income housing units;
(b) Rent subsidies;
(c) Matching funds for social services directly related to providing housing for special-need tenants in assisted projects;
(d) Technical assistance, design and finance services and consultation, and administrative costs for eligible nonprofit community or neighborhood-based organizations;
(e) Administrative costs for housing assistance groups or organizations when such grant or loan will substantially increase the recipient's access to housing funds other than those available under this chapter;
(f) Shelters and related services for the homeless, including emergency shelters and overnight youth shelters;
(g) Mortgage subsidies, including temporary rental and mortgage payment subsidies to prevent homelessness;
(h) Mortgage insurance guarantee or payments for eligible projects;
(i) Down payment or closing cost assistance for eligible first-time home buyers;
(j) Acquisition of housing units for the purpose of preservation as low-income or very low-income housing;
(k) Projects making housing more accessible to families with members who have disabilities; and
(l) Remodeling and improvements as required to meet building code, licensing requirements, or legal operations to residential properties owned and operated by an entity eligible under RCW 43.185A.040, which were transferred as described in RCW 82.45.010(3)(t) by the parent of a child with developmental disabilities.
(3) Preference must be given for projects that include an early learning facility.
(4) Legislative appropriations from capital bond proceeds may be used only for the costs of projects authorized under subsection (2)(a), (i), and (j) of this section, and not for the administrative costs of the department.
(5) Moneys from repayment of loans from appropriations from capital bond proceeds may be used for all activities necessary for the proper functioning of the housing assistance program except for activities authorized under subsection (2)(b) and (c) of this section.
(6) Administrative costs associated with application, distribution, and project development activities of the department may not exceed three percent of the annual funds available for the housing assistance program. Reappropriations must not be included in the calculation of the annual funds available for determining the administrative costs.
(7) Administrative costs associated with compliance and monitoring activities of the department may not exceed one-quarter of one percent annually of the contracted amount of state investment in the housing assistance program.

NOTES:

Findings2018 c 223: See note following RCW 82.45.010.
FindingsIntentEffective date2017 3rd sp.s. c 12: See notes following RCW 43.31.565.
Effective dates2011 1st sp.s. c 50: See note following RCW 15.76.115.
Effective date2006 c 371: See note following RCW 27.34.330.
Effective date2005 c 518: See note following RCW 28A.600.110.
Findings2002 c 294: See note following RCW 36.22.178.



Eligible organizations. (Effective until January 1, 2020.)

Organizations that may receive assistance from the department under this chapter are local governments, local housing authorities, behavioral health organizations established under chapter 71.24 RCW, nonprofit community or neighborhood-based organizations, federally recognized Indian tribes in the state of Washington, and regional or statewide nonprofit housing assistance organizations.
Eligibility for assistance from the department under this chapter also requires compliance with the revenue and taxation laws, as applicable to the recipient, at the time the grant is made.

NOTES:

Effective date2014 c 225: See note following RCW 71.24.016.

Eligible organizations. (Effective January 1, 2020.)

Organizations that may receive assistance from the department under this chapter are local governments, local housing authorities, behavioral health administrative services organizations established under chapter 71.24 RCW, nonprofit community or neighborhood-based organizations, federally recognized Indian tribes in the state of Washington, and regional or statewide nonprofit housing assistance organizations.
Eligibility for assistance from the department under this chapter also requires compliance with the revenue and taxation laws, as applicable to the recipient, at the time the grant is made.

NOTES:

Effective date2019 c 325: See note following RCW 71.24.011.
Effective date2014 c 225: See note following RCW 71.24.016.



Notice of grant and loan application periodPrioritiesCriteria for evaluation. (Effective until January 1, 2020.)

(1) During each calendar year in which funds from the housing trust fund or other legislative appropriations are available for use by the department for the housing assistance program, the department must announce to all known interested parties, and through major media throughout the state, a grant and loan application period of at least ninety days' duration. This announcement must be made as often as the director deems appropriate for proper utilization of resources. The department must then promptly grant as many applications as will utilize available funds less appropriate administrative costs of the department as provided in RCW 43.185.050.
(2) In awarding funds under this chapter, the department must:
(a) Provide for a geographic distribution on a statewide basis; and
(b) Until June 30, 2013, consider the total cost and per-unit cost of each project for which an application is submitted for funding under RCW 43.185.050(2) (a) and (j), as compared to similar housing projects constructed or renovated within the same geographic area.
(3) The department, with advice and input from the affordable housing advisory board established in RCW 43.185B.020, or a subcommittee of the affordable housing advisory board, must report recommendations for awarding funds in a cost-effective manner. The report must include an implementation plan, timeline, and any other items the department identifies as important to consider to the legislature by December 1, 2012.
(4) The department must give first priority to applications for projects and activities which utilize existing privately owned housing stock including privately owned housing stock purchased by nonprofit public development authorities and public housing authorities as created in chapter 35.82 RCW. As used in this subsection, privately owned housing stock includes housing that is acquired by a federal agency through a default on the mortgage by the private owner. Such projects and activities must be evaluated under subsection (5) of this section. Second priority must be given to activities and projects which utilize existing publicly owned housing stock. All projects and activities must be evaluated by some or all of the criteria under subsection (5) of this section, and similar projects and activities shall be evaluated under the same criteria.
(5) The department must give preference for applications based on some or all of the criteria under this subsection, and similar projects and activities must be evaluated under the same criteria:
(a) The degree of leveraging of other funds that will occur;
(b) The degree of commitment from programs to provide necessary habilitation and support services for projects focusing on special needs populations;
(c) Recipient contributions to total project costs, including allied contributions from other sources such as professional, craft and trade services, and lender interest rate subsidies;
(d) Local government project contributions in the form of infrastructure improvements, and others;
(e) Projects that encourage ownership, management, and other project-related responsibility opportunities;
(f) Projects that demonstrate a strong probability of serving the original target group or income level for a period of at least twenty-five years;
(g) The applicant has the demonstrated ability, stability and resources to implement the project;
(h) Projects which demonstrate serving the greatest need;
(i) Projects that provide housing for persons and families with the lowest incomes;
(j) Projects serving special needs populations which are under statutory mandate to develop community housing;
(k) Project location and access to employment centers in the region or area;
(l) Projects that provide employment and training opportunities for disadvantaged youth under a youthbuild or youthbuild-type program as defined in RCW 50.72.020;
(m) Project location and access to available public transportation services; and
(n) Projects involving collaborative partnerships between local school districts and either public housing authorities or nonprofit housing providers, that help children of low-income families succeed in school. To receive this preference, the local school district must provide an opportunity for community members to offer input on the proposed project at the first scheduled school board meeting following submission of the grant application to the department.
(6) The department may only approve applications for projects for persons with mental illness that are consistent with a behavioral health organization six-year capital and operating plan.

NOTES:

Effective date2015 c 155 § 2: "Section 2 of this act takes effect April 1, 2016." [ 2015 c 155 § 4.]
Expiration date2015 c 155 § 1: "Section 1 of this act expires April 1, 2016." [ 2015 c 155 § 3.]
Effective date2014 c 225: See note following RCW 71.24.016.
Effective date2005 c 518: See note following RCW 28A.600.110.

Notice of grant and loan application periodPrioritiesCriteria for evaluation. (Effective January 1, 2020.)

(1) During each calendar year in which funds from the housing trust fund or other legislative appropriations are available for use by the department for the housing assistance program, the department must announce to all known interested parties, and through major media throughout the state, a grant and loan application period of at least ninety days' duration. This announcement must be made as often as the director deems appropriate for proper utilization of resources. The department must then promptly grant as many applications as will utilize available funds less appropriate administrative costs of the department as provided in RCW 43.185.050.
(2) In awarding funds under this chapter, the department must:
(a) Provide for a geographic distribution on a statewide basis; and
(b) Until June 30, 2013, consider the total cost and per-unit cost of each project for which an application is submitted for funding under RCW 43.185.050(2) (a) and (j), as compared to similar housing projects constructed or renovated within the same geographic area.
(3) The department, with advice and input from the affordable housing advisory board established in RCW 43.185B.020, or a subcommittee of the affordable housing advisory board, must report recommendations for awarding funds in a cost-effective manner. The report must include an implementation plan, timeline, and any other items the department identifies as important to consider to the legislature by December 1, 2012.
(4) The department must give first priority to applications for projects and activities which utilize existing privately owned housing stock including privately owned housing stock purchased by nonprofit public development authorities and public housing authorities as created in chapter 35.82 RCW. As used in this subsection, privately owned housing stock includes housing that is acquired by a federal agency through a default on the mortgage by the private owner. Such projects and activities must be evaluated under subsection (5) of this section. Second priority must be given to activities and projects which utilize existing publicly owned housing stock. All projects and activities must be evaluated by some or all of the criteria under subsection (5) of this section, and similar projects and activities shall be evaluated under the same criteria.
(5) The department must give preference for applications based on some or all of the criteria under this subsection, and similar projects and activities must be evaluated under the same criteria:
(a) The degree of leveraging of other funds that will occur;
(b) The degree of commitment from programs to provide necessary habilitation and support services for projects focusing on special needs populations;
(c) Recipient contributions to total project costs, including allied contributions from other sources such as professional, craft and trade services, and lender interest rate subsidies;
(d) Local government project contributions in the form of infrastructure improvements, and others;
(e) Projects that encourage ownership, management, and other project-related responsibility opportunities;
(f) Projects that demonstrate a strong probability of serving the original target group or income level for a period of at least twenty-five years;
(g) The applicant has the demonstrated ability, stability and resources to implement the project;
(h) Projects which demonstrate serving the greatest need;
(i) Projects that provide housing for persons and families with the lowest incomes;
(j) Projects serving special needs populations which are under statutory mandate to develop community housing;
(k) Project location and access to employment centers in the region or area;
(l) Projects that provide employment and training opportunities for disadvantaged youth under a youthbuild or youthbuild-type program as defined in RCW 50.72.020;
(m) Project location and access to available public transportation services; and
(n) Projects involving collaborative partnerships between local school districts and either public housing authorities or nonprofit housing providers, that help children of low-income families succeed in school. To receive this preference, the local school district must provide an opportunity for community members to offer input on the proposed project at the first scheduled school board meeting following submission of the grant application to the department.

NOTES:

Effective date2019 c 325: See note following RCW 71.24.011.
Effective date2015 c 155 § 2: "Section 2 of this act takes effect April 1, 2016." [ 2015 c 155 § 4.]
Expiration date2015 c 155 § 1: "Section 1 of this act expires April 1, 2016." [ 2015 c 155 § 3.]
Effective date2014 c 225: See note following RCW 71.24.016.
Effective date2005 c 518: See note following RCW 28A.600.110.



Low-income housing grants and loansApplications.

The director shall designate grant and loan applications for approval and for funding under the revenue from remittances made pursuant to *RCW 18.85.310. These applications shall then be reviewed for final approval by the broker's trust account board created by **RCW 18.85.500.
The director shall submit to the broker's trust account board within any fiscal year only such applications which in their aggregate total funding requirements do not exceed the revenue to the housing trust found [fund] from remittances made pursuant to *RCW 18.85.310 for the previous fiscal year.
[ 1987 c 513 § 11. Formerly RCW 18.85.505.]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: *(1) RCW 18.85.310 was recodified as RCW 18.85.285 pursuant to 2008 c 23 § 49, effective July 1, 2010.
**(2) RCW 18.85.500 was repealed by 1994 sp.s. c 9 § 857, effective July 1, 1994.
Effective dateSeverability1987 c 513: See notes following RCW 18.85.285.



Low-income housing grants and loansApprovalLicense education programs.

The broker's trust account board shall review grant and loan applications placed before it by the director for final approval pursuant to RCW 43.185.074.
The decisions of the board shall be subject to the provisions of RCW 43.185.050, 43.185.060, and 43.185.070 with regard to eligible activities, eligible recipients, and criteria for evaluation.
The broker's trust account board shall serve in an advisory capacity to the real estate commission with regard to licensee education programs established pursuant to *RCW 18.85.040 and 18.85.220.

NOTES:

*Reviser's note: RCW 18.85.040 and 18.85.220 were recodified as RCW 18.85.041 and 18.85.061, respectively, pursuant to 2008 c 23 § 49, effective July 1, 2010.
Effective dateSeverability1987 c 513: See notes following RCW 18.85.285.



Preconstruction technical assistance.

(1) The department may use moneys from the housing trust fund and other legislative appropriations, but not appropriations from capital bond proceeds, to provide preconstruction technical assistance to eligible recipients seeking to construct, rehabilitate, or finance housing-related services for very low and low-income persons. The department shall emphasize providing preconstruction technical assistance services to rural areas and small cities and towns. The department may contract with nonprofit organizations to provide this technical assistance. The department may contract for any of the following services:
(a) Financial planning and packaging for housing projects, including alternative ownership programs, such as limited equity partnerships and syndications;
(b) Project design, architectural planning, and siting;
(c) Compliance with planning requirements;
(d) Securing matching resources for project development;
(e) Maximizing local government contributions to project development in the form of land donations, infrastructure improvements, waivers of development fees, locally and state-managed funds, zoning variances, or creative local planning;
(f) Coordination with local planning, economic development, and environmental, social service, and recreational activities;
(g) Construction and materials management; and
(h) Project maintenance and management.
(2) The department shall publish requests for proposals which specify contract performance standards, award criteria, and contractor requirements. In evaluating proposals, the department shall consider the ability of the contractor to provide technical assistance to low and very low-income persons and to persons with special housing needs.



Compliance monitoring.

The director shall monitor the activities of recipients of grants and loans under this chapter to determine compliance with the terms and conditions set forth in its application or stated by the department in connection with the grant or loan.



Rule-making authority.

The department shall have the authority to promulgate rules pursuant to chapter 34.05 RCW, regarding the grant and loan process, and the substance of eligible projects, consistent with this chapter. The department shall consider the recommendations of cities and counties regarding how the funds shall be used in their geographic areas.

NOTES:

Effective dateSeverability1987 c 513: See notes following RCW 18.85.285.



Affordable housing advisory boardState housing needs. (Effective until January 1, 2020.)

The affordable housing advisory board established in RCW 43.185B.020 shall advise the director on housing needs in this state, including housing needs for persons with mental illness or developmental disabilities or youth who are blind or deaf or otherwise disabled, operational aspects of the grant and loan program or revenue collection programs established by this chapter, and implementation of the policy and goals of this chapter. Such advice shall be consistent with policies and plans developed by behavioral health organizations according to chapter 71.24 RCW for individuals with mental illness and the developmental disabilities planning council for individuals with developmental disabilities.

NOTES:

Effective date2014 c 225: See note following RCW 71.24.016.
Effective dateSeverability1987 c 513: See notes following RCW 18.85.285.

Affordable housing advisory boardState housing needs. (Effective January 1, 2020.)

The affordable housing advisory board established in RCW 43.185B.020 shall advise the director on housing needs in this state, including housing needs for persons with mental illness or developmental disabilities or youth who are blind or deaf or otherwise disabled, operational aspects of the grant and loan program or revenue collection programs established by this chapter, and implementation of the policy and goals of this chapter. Such advice shall be consistent with policies and plans developed by behavioral health administrative services organizations according to chapter 71.24 RCW for individuals with mental illness and the developmental disabilities planning council for individuals with developmental disabilities.

NOTES:

Effective date2019 c 325: See note following RCW 71.24.011.
Effective date2014 c 225: See note following RCW 71.24.016.
Effective dateSeverability1987 c 513: See notes following RCW 18.85.285.



Protection of state's interest.

The department shall adopt policies to ensure that the state's interest will be protected upon either the sale or change of use of projects financed in whole or in part under RCW 43.185.050(2) (a), (i), and (j). These policies may include, but are not limited to: (1) Requiring a share of the appreciation in the project in proportion to the state's contribution to the project; (2) requiring a lump-sum repayment of the loan or grant upon the sale or change of use of the project; or (3) requiring a deferred payment of principal or principal and interest on loans after a specified time period.



Application processDistribution procedure.

The application process and distribution procedure for the allocation of funds are the same as the competitive application process and distribution procedure for the housing trust fund, described in this chapter and chapter 43.185A RCW, except for the funds applied to the *homeless families services fund created in RCW 43.330.167, dollars appropriated to weatherization administered through the energy matchmaker program, dollars appropriated for housing vouchers for homeless persons, victims of domestic violence, and low-income persons or seasonal farmworkers, and dollars appropriated to any program to provide financial assistance for grower-provided on-farm housing for low-income migrant or seasonal farmworkers.

NOTES:

*Reviser's note: The "homeless families services fund" was renamed the "Washington youth and families fund" by 2015 c 69 § 24.
Finding2006 c 349: "The legislature finds that Washington is experiencing an affordable housing crisis and that this crisis is growing exponentially every year as the population of the state expands and housing values increase at a rate that far exceeds most households' proportionate increase in income.
The fiscal and societal costs of the lack of adequate affordable housing are high for both the public and private sectors. Current levels of funding for affordable housing programs are inadequate to meet the housing needs of many low-income Washington households." [ 2006 c 349 § 1.]



FindingsReview of all housing propertiesEnergy audits.

(1) The legislature finds that growing preservation and rehabilitation needs in the housing trust fund property portfolio provide opportunities to advance energy efficiency and weatherization efforts for low-income individuals in Washington state while protecting the state's six hundred million dollars in affordable housing investments. Preservation of existing affordable housing, when done in conjunction with weatherization activities, is a cost-effective, prudent, and environmentally friendly strategy to ensure that low-income housing remains durable, safe, and affordable. Therefore, the legislature intends that where federal funds are available for increasing and improving energy efficiency of low-income housing that these funds must be utilized, subject to federal requirements, for energy audits and implementing energy efficiency measures in the state housing trust fund real estate portfolio.
(2) The department shall review all housing properties in the housing trust fund real estate portfolio and identify those in need of major renovation or rehabilitation. In its review, the department shall survey property owners for information including, but not limited to, the age of the building and the type of heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems contained in the property. The department shall prioritize all renovation or rehabilitation projects identified in the review by the department's ability to:
(a) Achieve the greatest possible expected monetary and energy savings by low-income households and other energy consumers over the greatest period of time;
(b) Promote the greatest possible health and safety improvements for residents of low-income households; and
(c) Leverage, to the extent feasible, technologically advanced and environmentally friendly sustainable technologies, practices, and designs.
(3) Subject to the availability of amounts appropriated for this specific purpose, the department shall use the prioritization of potential energy efficiency needs and opportunities in subsection (2) of this section to make offers of energy audit services to project owners and operators. The department shall use all practicable means to achieve the completion of energy audits in at least twenty-five percent of the properties in its portfolio that exceed twenty-five years in age, by June 30, 2011. Where the energy audits identify cost-effective weatherization and other energy efficiency measures, the department shall accord a priority within appropriated funding levels to include funding for energy efficiency improvements when the department allocates funding for renovation or rehabilitation of the property.

NOTES:

FindingIntentEffective date2009 c 379: See notes following RCW 70.260.010.



Conflict with federal requirements1991 c 356.

If any part of this act is found to be in conflict with federal requirements which are a prescribed condition to the allocation of federal funds to the state, the conflicting part of this act is inoperative solely to the extent of the conflict and with respect to the agencies directly affected, and this finding does not affect the operation of the remainder of this act in its application to the agencies concerned. The rules under this act shall meet federal requirements which are a necessary condition to the receipt of federal funds by the state.