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Sen. Cantwell's legislation aims to reduce affordable housing shortage

Built in 2015, the Nueva Vista Apartments are the Kennewick Housing Authority’s first project using Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC).

For low-income families, finding an affordable home can be a challenge.

It's an obstacle Kennewick Housing Authority Executive Director Lona Hammer is familiar with.

"Although we have an allocation of 975 vouchers and then an additional 138 that are project-based vouchers, we see waiting lists over two years long for our projects."

According to the 2015 Washington State Housing Assessment, there are almost 18,000 low-income renter households in Benton and Franklin counties.

One project that’s helped with the wait list has been the construction of the Nueva Vista Apartments in Kennewick on Union Street.

Built in 2015, the complex is the KHA’s first project using Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC).

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, LIHTC program is the most important resource for creating affordable housing.

With the introduction of proposed legislation, it could see a boost.

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) spoke about her Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act on Tuesday. The Act aims to increase LIHTC by 50%.

“We believe that that would give us the tools to build 400,000 new units nation-wide and in Washington state, we think it would be 40,000 units,” says Sen. Cantwell.

But KHA isn't waiting for the legislation to pass to start their next tax credit project: Nueva Vista Two.

That complex would have 28 units, with 14 going to homeless families with children.

Twenty percent of units will go to those with disabilities.

Hammer expects ground to be broken for Nueva Vista Two in September. It’s expected to be built by next August.

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