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December 15, 2016

Fund aims to make TODs affordable

A nonprofit lender wants to help developers buy land for affordable housing near future light-rail stops in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

Maryland-based Enterprise Community Partners unveiled a program on Wednesday that will offer developers low-cost financing to preserve affordable housing or build new affordable and mixed-income units.

“Prosperous regions throughout our country are experiencing displacement of low-income residents, particularly in areas of high opportunity near transit,” said M.A. Leonard, an Enterprise executive, in an announcement.

The $21 million revolving loan fund is called the Regional Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) Fund. Enterprise Community Loan Fund will administer it.

The program offers loans of up to $5 million with a fixed interest rate of 3.89 percent for up to 48-84 months.

Each property acquired using the fund will be required to have a share of units affordable to households at or below 80 percent of area median income, or 20 percent below market rent.

Enterprise said in its announcement that it wants at least a quarter of all apartments built or preserved through the program to be affordable to renters at or below 50 percent AMI. Another goal is to include at least 15 apartments at 30 percent AMI.

A two-person household in King County would have to earn less than $36,150 to be considered at or below 50 percent AMI, according to the state Housing Finance Commission.

Passage of the $54 billion Sound Transit 3 in November will add 62 miles of light rail in the three-county area and new bus rapid transit service.

Contributors to the REDI Fund include Enterprise, the Low Income Investment Fund, Living Cities Blended Catalyst Fund, the city of Seattle, King County and the state of Washington.

The idea for the fund grew out of Puget Sound Regional Council’s Growing Transit Communities Initiative, in which most REDI Fund investors were participants.

“King County committed to the REDI Fund concept early on as a complement to a number of our regional initiatives,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine in a statement. “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.”

More information about the REDI Fund is available on the Enterprise website at http://bit.ly/2hn4jFP.

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