State Housing Trust Fund, Seattle Housing Levy Recognized With $1 Million MacArthur Foundation Grant

Investment is Aimed at Ensuring the Preservation of Affordable Housing for an Estimated 3,200 Families in Washington

Olympia, WA – February 26, 2008 – (RealEstateRama) — The Washington Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development (CTED) and City of Seattle Office of Housing (Seattle OH) have been selected by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to participate in an innovative national initiative to preserve affordable rental housing. CTED and Seattle OH will share a $1 million award, and participate with eleven other public entities chosen through a highly competitive selection process. This investment is aimed at ensuring the preservation of affordable housing for an estimated 3,200 Washington families who are at-risk of being priced out of their homes because of expiring federal subsidies and rent restrictions.

The MacArthur Foundation recognized the strong track record of Washington State in creating affordable rental housing through the state Housing Trust Fund and the Seattle Housing Levy, and made the award to support efforts for long-term preservation of this portfolio. A total of 12 states and cities are launching innovative projects as part of a $32.5 million investment in affordable housing projects announced today by the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago.

The grant will provide direct financial support to preservation activities by nonprofit organizations and housing authorities spread across urban and rural jurisdictions. CTED, which manages the Housing Trust Fund, will receive $700,000 and the Seattle Office of Housing, $300,000.

“The national recession is a strong reminder why it is vital to preserve and improve affordable housing for Washington families,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire. “I applaud the innovative work of our public-private partnerships that have earned this important financial support, and am confident it will help strengthen our local communities.”

“We are delighted to participate with the MacArthur Foundation in this important new initiative. The Seattle Housing Levy and state Housing Trust Fund create much-needed affordable housing, and we look forward to doing even more,” said Mayor Greg Nickels.

The average cost to preserve an affordable home is about half the cost to build a new one.

The MacArthur Foundation applauded Washington’s success in preserving 36,000 affordable homes since 1989 through the Housing Trust Fund, noting these efforts serve as a model for communities throughout the country. Similarly, the MacArthur Foundation recognizes the success of the Seattle Housing Levy for its strong asset management, energy-conservation retrofitting, support of nonprofit capacity-building and other innovations in preserving affordable housing.

Washington and the City of Seattle are among 12 states and cities launching innovative projects to preserve more than 70,000 affordable rental homes with the new MacArthur funding.

MacArthur’s nationwide investment – $9.5 million in grants and an additional $23 million in low-interest loans – will help all levels of government coordinate their efforts and target places most in need of intervention, track the state of rental housing preserve affordable homes in neighborhoods with good schools and good access to transit and other amenities, and leverage more than $147 million in other funding. State and local governments in 40 states competed for MacArthur’s support.

“Washington’s emphasis on applying sound management practices to affordable housing developments represents a critical component of any comprehensive preservation strategy, especially during these challenging economic times,” said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton.

Learn more at The MacArthur Foundation press release and information about all of the honored projects is available at

The Washington State Housing Trust Fund in managed by the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED). CTED is the lead state agency charged with enhancing and promoting sustainable community and economic vitality in Washington. For more information, visit

Seattle’s Office of Housing funds manages the Seattle Housing Levy and other resources to create affordable workforce housing, both rental and ownership, as well as supportive housing for homeless that helps vulnerable people achieve stability and move along a path toward self-sufficiency. For more information, visit

Lisa Vatske, Washington State Housing Trust Fund Manager, 360.725.2915
Adrienne Quinn, Director, Seattle Office of Housing, 206-615-1561,


The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society.


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