SEATTLE — The cost of living in Seattle is going up, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the fall, Seattle voters will be asked to consider a new housing levy, announced Mayor Bruce Harrell in a news release on Thursday.
The $970 million housing levy would be Seattle’s largest ever.
Mayor Harrell said he knows times have changed when it comes to living expenses.
“In addition to supporting the development of over 3,000 units of new affordable housing throughout the city, the Mayor’s Housing Levy proposal would make first-of-its-kind investments to stabilize wages for workers who provide critical services to the lowest-income residents with the greatest supportive service needs,” said the news release. “The proposal would also do more than any prior levy to support the operations and maintenance necessary to keep City-funded affordable housing running safely and sustainably in the long term.”
If passed, the levy would charge property owners 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. For a house valued at $800,000, that would cost about $360 a year.
Over seven years, more than $700 million would go towards developing subsidized rental housing. $51 million would go to homeownership programs, and $30 million would go to rental assistance.
The first council meeting to discuss the proposal is scheduled for Wednesday.
“This Housing Levy renewal package is an investment in the health and resilience of our entire community,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, Chair of the Council Select Committee on the Housing Levy. “It’s an investment in the workers who lay the foundation for these homes, the providers of critical housing support services for our most vulnerable neighbors, the community organizations that transform these new homes into community and cultural hubs, as well as the families, seniors, and individuals who find stability and sanctuary in these new places to live. This levy will make our whole city stronger.”
“Affordable housing is the foundation for individual and community health, safety, and resilience,” said Maiko Winkler-Chin, Director of the Office of Housing. “For nearly four decades, thanks to Seattle voters, the Housing Levy has enabled the Office of Housing and its partners to consistently deliver affordable housing options throughout the city, but we know there is much more to be done. We need to grow our affordable housing investments to meet the growing needs of our community, and the Mayor’s proposal will help us do that.”
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