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May 20, 2016

County to guarantee loans for 2,200 affordable units

King County wants to guarantee loans for its housing authority to acquire or build approximately 2,200 affordable housing units over the next six years.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said at a press conference Thursday that King County Housing Authority has a strong financial track record, but banks today are hesitant to lend to affordable housing providers. Using the county's triple-A credit rating to back the housing authority would make it easier to get credit from banks to acquire or develop affordable units.

Constantine said the county will focus on sites near mass transit or well-performing schools.

A detailed proposal is expected to come this summer. The deal should give the housing authority the ability to act quickly to acquire properties, while still protecting the county's credit rating, according to a press release from Constantine's office.

Last year Constantine announced a plan to create approximately 700 affordable units as part of transit-oriented development projects that would also include shopping, schools and job centers near Sound Transit light rail stations. In February, the county said it would create 237 additional affordable units through a series of capital projects, increase emergency funding for homeless shelters and provide $10 million in rental assistance.

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