The Washington State Housing Finance Commission named Steve Walker as its new executive director after a nationwide search. Walker returns to the Commission, where he was director of Multifamily Housing and Community Facilities until 2013, after most recently leading the City of Seattle Office of Housing.

Walker will step into the shoes of founding director Kim Herman, who retires this year after 36 years at the helm of the Commission. Walker dedicated his 30-year career to affordable housing and community development, beginning with homeless housing in New York City. He then directed housing programs for a nonprofit in his native northern California before coming to Seattle.

In 1996, Walker joined the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and eventually became director of the Multifamily Housing and Community Facilities division, overseeing the financing of affordable apartments, nonprofit facilities and many other projects benefiting families and communities statewide.

He was appointed by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in 2014 to lead the city’s housing strategies and investments, including Seattle’s largest voter-approved Housing Levy to date. Walker served during a time of rapid growth marked by skyrocketing housing costs, displacement, and homelessness. He was reappointed by Mayor Durkan in 2018 and left the post earlier this year.

As executive director of the Commission, Walker will oversee a self-supporting state agency that each year finances more than 6,000 affordable apartments and more than 7,000 home loans, using tools such as tax-exempt bonds and federal housing tax credits.