Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales (District 2 – Southeast Seattle & Chinatown-International District) celebrated the passage of Initiative 135 today alongside the House our Neighbors Coalition, State Senator Rebecca Saldaña, and Representative Frank Chopp. I-135 currently leads by over 22,000 votes, a 14% lead, according to numbers just released by King County Elections.
Seattle is the first city in the nation to create a Social Housing Developer through a citizen initiative process. It is the second, and largest, jurisdiction in the country to adopt social housing as a tool to address systemic racial and economic segregation, housing affordability, residential displacement, and social cohesion.
In December, in anticipation of passage of I-135, Councilmember Morales started work with Representative Chopp and Senator Saldaña to champion $880,000 in operational funding for social housing through the state legislature. Funding would cover start-up costs for the Seattle Social Housing Developer and provide seed funding for a City-run Social Housing Fund.
In addition to sponsors Representative Chopp and Senator Saldaña, several State legislators have expressed support for this budget request, including Representative Nicole Macri (D-Seattle), Representative Jessica Bateman (D-Olympia), and Representative Emily Alvarado (D-Seattle).
“Our communities just took a once-in-a-generation step toward fixing our housing crisis” said Councilmember Morales. “We’ve been working with community members on bringing social housing to Seattle since 2020. Despite previous setbacks at the City, I’m proud to see community members are the ones to bring this model to Seattle. I’m honored to work with State-level housing champions to provide start-up funding and eager to work alongside community to develop long-term funding for universally affordable social housing in our city.”
“We look forward to working alongside Councilmember Morales and our state partners to implement I-135 without delay,” said Tiffani McCoy, Advocacy Director of Real Change. “The social housing developer needs to staff up immediately and we will be there every step of the way to ensure that the Council funds these positions in the next supplemental budget. We are so thankful for CM Morales and her unwavering support of social housing.”
“Housing should be seen as a public good. Everyone deserves a safe and decent place to call home.” said State Representative Frank Chopp. “The passage of I-135 is a vital step toward reaching that goal and addressing the affordability crisis in our communities. I am proud of my role in the development of the concept, and I am proud of the folks at House Our Neighbors who saw the Initiative through to victory in the strong public vote.”
“Housing is a basic need for every human and is essential for a healthy and thriving community,” said State Senator Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle). “The passage of I-135 adds a critical tool for underserved and overburdened community members to create and steward public housing for themselves.”