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August 2020

Housing Consortium honors Burien, Kenmore for work on affordable housing

August 6, 2020

Burien and Kenmore were among this year's recipients of awards from the Housing Development Consortium. Both cities received Municipal Champion Awards for exceptional contributions to the state of affordable housing.

Burien was recognized for working collaboratively with community leaders to adopt an affordable housing demonstration program, a suite of policies, and an inspection program to ensure healthy housing in the city. Its demonstration program, created on November 4, 2019, allows up to five affordable housing projects within the city, including some that are not currently permitted under existing city regulations.

The demonstration program provides incentives and flexibility for the development of affordable housing over the next three years. City officials indicate they intend to use this as an opportunity to evaluate potential barriers to the construction of affordable housing and make recommendations on changes to development regulations.

Kenmore's award was for adopting zoning to preserve manufactured housing communities, as well as for work on the Multi-Family Tax Exemption and the mayor's leadership as o-chair of the Regional Affordable Housing Task Force.

Kenmore's City Council adopted an ordinance at its September 16, 2019 meeting that authorized a new sales and use tax option for affordable housing. The resolution document indicated 17 percent of households in Kenmore spend more than 50 percent of their income of housing, with 38 percent of the city's households and 42 percent of renting households paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

This year marked the Housing Consortium's 12th annual awards celebration, which was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to the Municipal Champion awards, HDC honored three individuals for being champions of its mission and making important impacts in the affordable housing sector.

HDC has 180 member organizations, including all the major nonprofit housing developers in King County. Other members are financial institutions, consultants, architects, building contractors attorneys, accountants, service providers, local housing authorities, and government agencies.