Announcement from the office of Representative Derek Kilmer.
On March 9, the United States House of Representatives passed new federal funding that was championed by U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) to support two projects aimed at providing more affordable housing and employment opportunities in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma. The investments are intended to revitalize a historic neighborhood in Tacoma and ensure that residential and commercial spaces will be accessible to community residents and BIPOC-owned businesses.
The House passed $3 million for the Tacoma Housing Authority’s Hilltop Housing and Commercial project to begin redeveloping three parcels of land in a public-private partnership. This project will provide approximately 200 affordable housing units for households earning up to 60% of the minimum average income (AMI) and approximately 20,000 square feet of commercial space for businesses primarily owned by BIPOC. Additionally, the House passed $1.5 million for the Hilltop Accessible Housing and Business Development Project, which aims to provide community ownership of a mixed-use center for culture, community, homes and businesses on the top of the hill.
The initiatives were included in the government’s twelve-bill funding package that passed the House with bipartisan support. The package also included historic investments in affordable housing – including $11 billion in funding to build new affordable housing and repair old affordable housing and improve the health, safety and maintenance of public and low-income housing. income. In addition, the bill provides $1.5 billion for state and local governments through the HOME Investment Partnerships program and dramatically increases investment in distressed neighborhoods through the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative program. In addition, the legislation extends housing choice vouchers to up to 25,000 low-income individuals and families living or at risk of homelessness, including domestic violence survivors and veterans; includes up to 4,000 new affordable housing units for seniors and people with disabilities; and protects housing assistance for more than 4.8 million individuals and families. The legislation is expected to be approved by the US Senate and signed into law by President Biden in the coming days.
“As we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that the federal government invest in the revitalization of our communities to support small businesses, create jobs and provide access to more housing. affordable. Our region had affordable housing and homelessness issues before the COVID-19 pandemic – and these challenges have only been exacerbated. We cannot afford to leave anyone behind and it is important that the federal government remain a strong partner as we strive to meet these challenges. Rep. Kilmer said. “That’s why I’m thrilled the House has passed the federal funding I’m advocating to advance two important projects to increase affordable housing and create more jobs on Hilltop. I’m thrilled to see this legislation enacted. so we can provide more affordable housing, drive economic growth, and continue on the path to revitalizing Hilltop.
“On behalf of the City of Tacoma, I am very excited about federal investment in these key economic development and housing projects in the Hilltop neighborhood,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. “Building on our momentum spurred by Sound Transit’s Hilltop Tacoma Link extension and the city’s Links to Opportunity infrastructure projects, this federal funding will help bring much needed affordable housing to the Hilltop neighborhood. I am grateful to Congressman Kilmer for championing these proposals from our valued community partners, Tacoma Housing Authority and Forterra.
“We are pleased that Congress has passed the House Appropriations Program, which includes a combined $4.5 million funding request by Rep. Kilmer for the Hilltop neighborhood redevelopment,” said April Black, executive director of the Tacoma Housing Authority. “This funding will go a long way toward meeting community needs by providing more than 200 affordable housing units and approximately 13,000 square feet of commercial space for primarily BIPOC-owned businesses.”
“The $1.5 million will provide critical funding to make Hilltop’s community and commercial space accessible to the BIPOC community and businesses,” said Rebecca Bouchey, Executive Director of Community Development at Forterra. “This informed, community-led development will provide a beautiful, sustainable community hub for Hilltop culture, community and businesses. It will make home ownership accessible and aims to meet Hilltop’s current and future needs. »
The Tacoma Housing Authority owns three lots within two blocks in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma. They aim to redevelop these sites in a public-private partnership to bring about 200 affordable housing units and about 20,000 square feet of retail space. The $3 million included in the spending bill will be used to acquire the commercial spaces and provide financial assistance to business owners to make necessary leasehold improvements to their spaces. Commercial tenants are expected to include a performing arts center and other BIPOC businesses. The Tacoma Housing Authority aims to occupy 80% of commercial space with BIPOC businesses to reflect the local neighborhood and honor its culture.
Additionally, for nearly two years, Forterra has been working with residents and businesses in the Hilltop community on a housing development project – the Hilltop Attainable Housing and Businesses Project – which aims to address the community’s need for a cultural hub. central for the black community and which will provide a home for small businesses, community property, community gathering space and affordable homes.
Forterra aims to develop four buildings to include 150 to 175 rental units and 150 to 175 model units of limited co-op ownership. At least 50% of the total number of rental and home ownership units will be affordable. According to Forterra, their limited equity cooperative home ownership model aims to significantly reduce down payments and mortgage payments for future homeowners next to the Sound Transit light rail extension. In addition to feasible housing, the project will include approximately 50,000 square feet of commercial space for community-owned businesses and local non-profit organizations. The buildings will be designed with community input, providing space for small businesses and local community organizations, and helping to create wealth for families from gentrification and housing shortages.
Rep. Kilmer led efforts to secure funding for the projects through the House Appropriations Committee’s community project funding process.
Tacoma Housing Authority’s application for community project funding was endorsed by Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards, the Tacoma Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and the Hilltop Action Coalition. Forterra’s application for community project funding was supported by Pierce County Council and Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards.