Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park) issued the following statement after the passage of legislation creating a $29M housing bond intended to expand financing for affordable housing in Seattle for 2017:
“With a vote of 7-2 in favor of this proposal, my colleagues and I have signaled our common desire to prioritize housing in the budget process, and without pitting Seattle’s housing needs against other citywide priorities.
“We are in a homelessness state of emergency. We need to build today to meet the need. Building today is less expensive than building at future costs, and these funds will continue to benefit the community for the entire period of the bond payment under their 50+ year regulatory agreement. When the City issues bonds to finance capital needs we gain the ability to deliver projects faster and enjoy their benefits sooner.
“We will work with the Office of Housing to evaluate and develop options for funding, either proposing utilization of the entire $29 million in bond funding at one time for a specific project or program, or using funding over time for several projects or programs. Other program options include: financing for acquisition and/or preservation of existing project(s); a multi-family tenant ownership program; and/or for a homeownership preservation program.
“We welcome others that the Executive might want to include in the development of these program options.
“There is legitimate cause for concern that some elements of HALA plan rely on federal resources that may now be at risk. As Rachel Myers, Executive Director of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance said, ‘The combination of Seattle’s housing needs and the uphill struggle to find alternate resources make local investments in affordable housing more critical than ever.’
“I look forward to the next step and doing something innovative with these dollars and figuring out a way to make these dollars work for Seattle. I want to thank those Council colleagues who signed our measured proposal to add bond financing for housing early on. Together we stand proudly in support of a new use of the City’s bonding authority, namely, affordable housing production.”