Affordable housing, for many people, equals public housing. What comes to mind are images of non-working, urban poor living in squalid high-rise tenements in blighted neighborhoods. Today’s reality is much different. Nationally, many of those high-rises have been torn down or transformed and a much larger share of families living in public housing are working. But while many of the horrors of public housing’s past have been addressed a new problem has arisen.
In our local area, and especially on the Eastside, our economic success has driven our housing costs to outpace income for everyday workers. As our bedroom communities have been transformed to employment centers, not enough housing has been created for lower and moderate-income families to live in the communities where they work. To make matters worse, redevelopment of older, more affordable housing is actually reducing the existing supply in some areas.
34% of Eastside households are cost-burdened – paying over 30% of their income to housing.
A common misconception about workers on the Eastside is that they all hold high paying technical jobs. In fact, 75% of jobs on the Eastside pay similarly or less than countywide averages. Teachers, health care, retail and restaurant workers all are being priced out the market. 34% of Eastside households are cost-burdened – paying over 30% of their income to housing and 14% are severely cost-burdened – paying over 50% for housing. The young and seniors are affected the most. Besides enabling families to live in communities close to work, quality education, and affordable transportation, affordable housing is critical to preserving the vitality, character and diversity of our communities.
Funding Solutions Have Changed
In the past, the federal government provided much of the funding for public housing through grants and tax credits. Much of that money has dried up over the past twenty years and when the great recession came along, needs increased but public funds became even more scarce.
Today, local cities are setting aggressive goals for new development of affordable housing in their comprehensive plans. Funding, on the Eastside, mostly comes in the form of land donations and development incentives like property tax exemptions, fee waivers and expedited permitting. These local sources of funding are often leveraged with other county, state and federal programs through grants, tax exempt bonds and tax credits.
DASH makes the most of these incentives and other sources of funding by forming unique development partnerships with public, private and not-for-profit agencies and organizations. We pride ourselves in a being an extremely lean organization that leverages our work through a team of allied professionals in finance, development and building services. See some of the organizations we work with.
What Does DASH Affordable Housing Look Like?
Dash is committed to maintaining properties that meet or exceed neighborhood standards and providing homes that are bright and attractive. From our years of managing and maintaining properties we’ve learned that residents that take pride in their homes are motivated to preserve and enhance their surroundings. By focusing on both cost and quality in initial design phases, we’ve learned how to create communities that are both affordable and durable.