State Rep. Orwall happy with passage of Washington Works Housing Act

The first seed money for a new state program designed to create jobs building affordable housing for working families was approved by the House and Senate, just hours before the close of the 2010 legislative session.

The capital budget that passed April 12 includes $25 million to help non-profit organizations and local housing projects launch projects under the Washington Works Housing Act that was signed into law on March 26.

“We're seeing more families with moderate to low incomes struggling to find affordable housing and this bill will help create more options for them,” said Rep. Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines), the lead sponsor of the act.

Orwall’s legislation dedicates $1 billion of the Housing Finance Commission’s investment capacity to the development of affordable housing for working families. The capital budget investment will help local organizations leverage additional federal dollars for projects.

Orwall authored the measure to make it easier for workers to find housing near their workplaces at affordable prices.

“Teachers, nurses, law enforcement officials—more and more Washington workers need affordable homes within driving distance of their schools, hospitals or police stations,” said Orwall.

The first-term lawmaker also said that when workers live 10 miles from their workplaces, instead of 40, there is less traffic on the roads, the environment is cleaner, and since working families spend more time together, the communities where they live become stronger.

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