Blog Post

Four Washington state housing authorities honor Sen. Patty Murray with special award

May 12, 2016

Washington – Four housing authorities in Washington state today honored Sen. Patty Murray with a special award. The King County, Seattle, Tacoma, and Vancouver housing authorities recognized the senator’s leadership on behalf of low-income families and individuals living in the state. In particular, Sen. Murray was praised for her leadership in securing continuance of current contract terms and conditions for extensions of Moving To Work (MTW) agreements with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The four housing authorities are among 39 nationwide that have MTW agreements with HUD, which enable high-performing housing authorities to test and implement innovative, locally designed approaches to administer their federally subsidized housing programs. Together the four authorities serve 39,473 households through these programs.

The flexibility provided by the Moving To Work program has allowed the four authorities to help more low-income families, improve neighborhoods, preserve and expand the supply of affordable housing, reduce homelessness, expand access to high-opportunity areas, improve residents’ economic self-sufficiency, and support successful educational outcomes for children. Additionally, millions in taxpayer dollars have been saved due to the ability of the authorities to streamline their operations and business processes.

“By allowing us to flexibly direct federal support for low-income and affordable housing, MTW is the single most important tool we have to improve the quality of lives and the communities of the people we serve,” said King County Executive Director Stephen Norman. “We deeply appreciate Sen. Murray’s tireless advocacy for this program on behalf of vulnerable families with children, people with disabilities, and seniors.”

Seattle Housing Authority Executive Director Andrew Lofton, said, “The tremendous benefit our MTW contracts bring to low-income families and individuals, and our respective communities, is not something most people are aware of, but Patty Murray understood immediately how changes could negatively impact our region. Her efforts on behalf of people in our state should not go unrecognized and we hope this award widens appreciation for her leadership.”

In addition to providing housing, the Tacoma Housing Authority helps people succeed, not just as tenants, but also as “parents, students, wage earners, and builders of assets. We especially appreciate Sen. Murray’s support of our efforts to help children succeed in school,” said Michael Mirra, executive director of the Tacoma Housing Authority.

“Sen. Murray has consistently supported our MTW designations and the services provided by housing authorities,” said Vancouver Housing Authority Executive Director Roy Johnson. “The lead she took in ensuring that the MTW designation was extended was vitally important to our ability to be more responsive to community needs, our ability to foster relationships with community partners and develop collaborative programs that are more robust as a result of our MTW flexibility.”

Sen. Murray was moved by the award. “I want to thank our housing authorities involved in the critical Moving To Work program – they truly serve as a national model. Their tireless commitment to increasing affordable housing with an eye towards innovation truly makes a difference,” she said. “I am honored by this recognition and am proud to be your partner in the U.S. Senate. I will keep fighting every day for low-income families to have access to a safe and affordable place to live and to the opportunities they need to work hard and succeed.”