New loan partnership helps Tacoma Habitat for Humanity build 25 more homes in Pierce County

SEATTLE – (RealEstateRama) — Thanks to a financing partnership between the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and Habitat for Humanity of Washington State, the Tacoma-Pierce County Habitat affiliate will build seven new homes in Lakewood’s Tillicum area, as well as complete an ongoing community.

In all, the $2.5 million loan means Habitat for Humanity Tacoma-Pierce County—which just celebrated its 30th anniversary—will increase its capacity by 25 homes.

“We operate on a very thin margin and this is a great example of maximizing our assets,” said Maureen Fife, CEO of Tacoma-Pierce County Habitat for Humanity. “This partnership is helping us to make the dream of owning your own home a reality for hard-working low-income families in Pierce County.”

Thanks to the loan, Habitat can begin home-building at New Tillicum North in Lakewood, a seven-home development that continues Habitat’s ongoing revitalization of the Tillicum neighborhood. Infrastructure work is currently underway, and house construction is expected to start in June.

It will also hasten the completion of Tacoma-Pierce County Habitat’s largest project to date: The Woods at Golden Given. The Woods is a 30-unit, sustainably built cottage-design community near the Pacific Lutheran University campus, including a common house, community garden, sports field and playground.

The common house broke ground last week, and with help from the new loan, the remaining homes planned at The Woods will be completed over the next year and a half.

“We’ve been talking with Habitat for several years about how we could partner more effectively,” said Karen Miller, chair of the Housing Finance Commission. “We’re so glad to have found this solution and look forward to continuing to support Habitat’s mission.”

Habitat for Humanity, an international nonprofit, builds simple, affordable homes that are sold to lowincome families who also donate “sweat equity” during construction, working side by side with community volunteers. In Washington state, the average cost to build a Habitat home is $100,000, not including land.

Michone Preston, outreach director for Habitat for Humanity’s statewide organization, said the partnership with the Commission is revolutionary for the organization.

“We’ve been moving at a snail’s pace, building each home one at a time as we raise philanthropic dollars,” said Preston. “But this loan infuses our affiliates with cash to start and finish projects.”

In addition, the loans are expected to help the two Habitat affiliates raise further funds from donors and energize the volunteers who are critical to building Habitat homes.

If the pilot is successful, the loan program could become a self-sustaining resource that Habitat affiliates can access through an application and review process. Preston said they are already showing interest.

“If we continue, this could jump-start production of Habitat homes all across the state,” said Preston. “It’s an exciting change.”

The new partnership will also support Habitat’s statewide organization, which will keep half a percent of the interest as the affiliates repay the loans. This will cover staffing to facilitate and administer the loans, and will also cover legal and administrative expenses.

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The Washington State Housing Finance Commission is a publicly accountable, self-supporting team that brings private investment dollars to benefit families and achieve public goals throughout Washington. Over 30 years, the Commission has created and preserved affordable apartments and homeownership for more than 307,000 people across the state, while contributing more than $42.5 billion and 240,000 jobs to the economy.

Habitat for Humanity Washington is part of an international, nonprofit organization that helps families build, renovate and repair their own homes using volunteer labor and donations, serving over 800,000 families since 1976.

Washington state’s 30 Habitat affiliates have built 1,900 new homes in communities large and small.

(at) Habitat (dot) org Facebook.com/Habitat
@WSHFC Facebook.com/WSHFC

Margret Graham
206.454.9058
margret.graham (at) wshfc (dot) org
Elliot Stockstad
(253) 627-5626 ext. 114
estockstad (at) tpchabitat (dot) org

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