This afternoon the Full Council will vote on an ordinance that would send a $290 million Housing Levy to voters for consideration on the August 2, 2016 Primary Election ballot. If approved, the seven-year Housing Levy will serve as the largest investment in affordable housing the City has ever made. The Housing Levy proposal focuses on increasing affordable housing production and preservation, supporting homelessness prevention, and fostering home ownership for low-income residents.
Since 1981, Seattle has chosen to generously invest in affordable housing for our neighbors, with a particular emphasis on those most in need. This year, the Council and Mayor have thoroughly analyzed and crafted a package that will provide affordable housing for thousands of Seattle residents.
After receiving the Mayor’s draft proposal in March, Council made several amendments that would:
- Allow levy funds to provide a grant or low interest loan to an owner of existing multifamily housing to make building improvements in exchange for putting rent restrictions on a certain percentage of units in the building;
- Allow for up to $30 million of levy funds to be used as short-term loans for acquisition and preservation of existing affordable housing; and
- Dedicate an additional $1.75 million toward homelessness prevention and housing stability services using interest earnings generated from levy proceeds.
The Council’s amendments work within the existing funds of the $290 million proposed levy submitted to the Council by the Mayor.