Cantwell, local advocates meet on low-income housing

The senator championed an increase in low-income housing tax credits but says it’s not enough.

EVERETT — Local affordable housing advocates met with Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., on Friday to talk about needs in Snohomish County, and to celebrate an increase in federal funding for low-income housing tax credits.

A 12.5 percent increase for the tax credit program over the next four years is part of the federal omnibus spending bill passed in March.

Housing Hope CEO Fred Safstrom said he’s seen a period of decline in public funding for housing.

“This year, we see this turnaround,” he said. “It’s hope.”

Cantwell championed the increase, but said it’s not enough. There is demand for housing from low-income families, veterans, seniors and homeless people, exacerbated by the opioid crisis.

“You’re kind of at the epicenter of the squeeze point for all of that,” Cantwell said Friday.

The Housing Consortium of Everett and Snohomish County expects to release a report in the coming weeks, Executive Director Mark Smith said. Tens of thousands of low-income families here are paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing, he said.