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News from WSHFC: Waiver helps open housing doors for Oso victims


Waiver helps open housing doors for Oso victims

SNOHOMISH COUNTY — The Washington State Housing Finance Commission has issued a waiver that allows victims of the Oso/SR530 mudslide to more quickly access emergency housing.

People displaced by the mudslide, and who earn less than 60% of area median income, can now skip several time-consuming steps when applying for tax-credit apartments, and remain in the new housing through July 31 before having to reapply and meet the normal requirements.

“Like everyone in the state, we grieve for the tragedy in Oso and for those who have been through so much,” said Karen Miller, chair of the Housing Finance Commission. “We’re glad we can do something to help.”

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit has created or rehabilitated more than 68,000 affordable apartments across the nation and Washington state, in rural, suburban and urban areas alike.

A full list of the state’s tax-credit properties, with details and contact information, can be found at Search by program type and then select “Properties that offer Washington State housing tax credit affordable apartments.”

Under the waiver, mudslide victims who apply for tax-credit housing can simply self-certify that their income is under the limits at the property—generally, below 60% of median income in the area where the property is located—instead of providing proof.

“The first step should be to call the property you’re interested in to ask about vacancies, and to make sure your gross annual income makes you eligible,” said Melissa Donahue, manager of the Commission’s Asset Management and Compliance division.

Families will still pay rent, and background and/or credit checks may still be required.

But the waiver will save up to a week of certifications and paperwork, removing one barrier for displaced families seeking temporary homes. They will then have until July 31, 2014, to reapply if they wish to stay.

The Housing Finance Commission last used this waiver in 2005 to assist people displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Further information and links to various housing resources for mudslide victims can be found at


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.


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