Regional Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) Fund to Spur Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Development across Puget Sound Region

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$21 million revolving loan fund provides King, Pierce and Snohomish counties with early, low-cost financing

SEATTLE – A new financing tool is available beginning today in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties for the acquisition of property in transit-accessible areas to preserve and create affordable homes for low- and moderate-income households, many of whom spend more than half of their income on housing and transportation.

Led by Enterprise Community Partners Inc. (Enterprise) and a coalition of public, private and nonprofit investors, the Regional Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) Fund provides critical, early, low-cost financing for nonprofit and for-profit developers to acquire sites to preserve affordable housing or to develop new affordable and mixed-income housing, which will help to keep neighborhoods connected to transit economically diverse.

With affordable housing increasingly difficult to find in the Puget Sound region, especially near job centers and transit, the $21 million revolving loan fund will leverage the historic $54 billion transit buildout, including light rail expansion and recently approved future transit lines, to help increase opportunity for lower-wage households.

“Prosperous regions throughout our country are experiencing displacement of lower-income residents, particularly in areas of high opportunity near transit. The investment from multiple local partners in the REDI Fund is unique and speaks to a strong commitment to an equitable future for our region,” said M.A. Leonard, vice president and Pacific Northwest market leader, Enterprise, whose subsidiary Enterprise Community Loan Fund will administer the REDI Fund.

The City of Seattle, King County, A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH) and Enterprise Community Loan Fund were the first funders, and because of their commitment attracted investors, including the following, to the collaboration to create a fund designed to address Puget Sound’s affordable housing needs:

• Enterprise Community Loan Fund, $6.5 million;
• Low Income Investment Fund, $4 million;
Living Cities Blended Catalyst Fund, $3.5 million and staff time support;
• State of Washington, $2.5 million (contributed through an agreement with King County);
King County Housing Authority, $2 million;
• City of Seattle, $1 million;
• King County, $1 million;
• ARCH, $500,000.

Each property acquired using the REDI Fund will be required to have a share of apartments affordable to households at or below 80 percent area median income (AMI) or 20 percent below market rent; while not a requirement for each individual development, 25 percent of all apartments built or preserved through the REDI Fund must be at or below 50 percent AMI, with an additional goal to include at least 15 apartments at 30 percent AMI.

“King County committed to the REDI Fund concept early on as a complement to a number of our regional initiatives, including Equity and Social Justice, the Strategic Climate Action Plan and an Equitable Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Bond Program that may be applied for to provide a permanent fund source for REDI Fund’s time-limited acquisition loans,” said King County Executive and Sound Transit Board Chair Down Constantine. “It is imperative in our view that households across the income spectrum live near frequent transit, where they have access to jobs, services and healthy community amenities. We are confident that such equitable community hubs have the simultaneous benefit of reducing greenhouse gases and inequitable health and well-being outcomes.”

The REDI Fund concept grew out of the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Growing Transit Communities Initiative, in which most REDI Fund investors were active participants. Enterprise’s experience in similar funds in Denver and the San Francisco Bay Area as part of its national Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (eTOD) Initiative informed the process of structuring and capitalizing the fund, created through a collaborative effort of public and private contributors to the fund. The REDI Fund includes explicit goals to support eTOD development throughout the three participating counties.

“Housing affordability is a regional issue, and I am glad to be part of a regional solution like the REDI Fund,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “Combined with our new Equitable Development Initiative, Seattle Housing Levy and Mandatory Housing, the REDI Fund will contribute toward Seattle’s goal of producing 20,000 affordable homes over the next ten years.”

ARCH Executive Board Chair Peter Troedsson said, “Member cities of ARCH have acknowledged the importance of having affordable housing opportunities in east King County, and especially near good transit service. Given the extreme challenges of securing land in east King County, participating in the REDI Fund is seen as the best opportunity to leverage city dollars with other public and private funds as a pivotal first step to achieving this goal.”

“Assuring affordability along transit lines for low-income wage earners and for disabled and elderly households makes sense on many levels. It strengthens our attractiveness to business, increases transit ridership, improves quality of life and helps assure that the region grows in an environmentally sustainable manner,” said Stephen Norman, King County Housing Authority executive director. “This fund is an important tool – partnering public and private resources to invest in our collective future.”

“Traditionally, TOD strategies emphasize place-based solutions that overlook the needs of low-income people. At Living Cities, we believe that equitable transit-oriented development strategies – a people-based approach to addressing the needs of residents beyond infrastructure – can provide increased economic opportunity for low-income individuals,” said Eileen Neely, director of Capital Innovation, Living Cities. “We invested in the REDI Fund to help ensure development will keep residents at the center.”

“The Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) is proud to participate in the REDI Fund, which will help the Puget Sound region’s efforts to create more equitable, connected and healthier communities for low-income families,” said Cécile Chalifour, director, California Region, at LIIF. “Building on the success of similar initiatives in the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere, we have seen how critical providing flexible, low-cost capital is to encouraging the development of affordable housing and community services near transit.”

To learn more about the REDI Fund, contact James Madden, senior program director, Enterprise, at 206-204-3424 or jmadden@enterprisecommunity.org

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About A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH)
A Regional Coalition of Housing is a partnership of 15 cities in East King County and King County who have joined together to assist with preserving and increasing the supply of housing for low and moderate income households in East King County. ARCH assists member governments in developing and administering housing policies, development regulations and other housing programs as well as coordinating cities financial support to groups creating affordable housing. These efforts have resulted in providing financial assistance for over 3,200 housing units, and land use and other incentive programs creating over 1,500 housing units. Learn more at www.ARCHhousing.org.

About Enterprise Community Partners
Enterprise works with partners nationwide to build opportunity. We create and advocate for affordable homes in thriving communities linked to good schools, jobs, transit and health care. We lend funds, finance development and manage and build affordable housing, while shaping new strategies, solutions and policy. Over more than 30 years, Enterprise has created nearly 358,000 homes, invested $23.4 billion and touched millions of lives. Join us at www.EnterpriseCommunity.org.

About King County Housing Authority
King County Housing Authority transforms lives through housing. An independent municipal corporation established under state law, we own or manage homes for more than 18,000 families, seniors, disabled people and veterans and are the largest provider of supportive and affordable housing in Washington. We work collaboratively with our community to end homelessness, advance academic and life achievement for young people, and ensure that all King County residents can live with dignity. For more information on King County Housing Authority, visit www.kcha.org/.

About Living Cities
For 25 years, Living Cities has harnessed the collective power of 20 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions to develop and scale new approaches for creating opportunities for low-income people and improving the cities where they live. Its investments, research, networks, and convenings catalyze fresh thinking and combine support for innovative, local approaches with real-time sharing of learning to accelerate adoption in more places. Additional information can be found at www.livingcities.org.

About the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF)
The Low Income Investment Fund invests capital to support healthy families and communities. Since 1984, LIIF has served 1.9 million people by investing $2.0 billion. Over its history, LIIF has provided financing and technical assistance to create and preserve affordable housing, child care centers, schools, healthy food retail, health clinics and transit-oriented development in distressed neighborhoods nationwide. LIIF’s work has generated more than $50 billion in family income and societal benefits. LIIF has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C. For more information about LIIF, visit www.liifund.org.