Seattle social housing initiative qualifies for ballot, targets February 2023 special election

SEATTLE — The group behind Initiative 135 now has enough signatures to get its Seattle social housing initiative on the ballot next year.

On Friday, King County Elections confirmed that it had completed its review, accepting 27,220 of the 39,148 signatures submitted by House Our Neighbors.

The group turned in nearly 30,000 signatures in June, but I-135 failed to qualify for the November ballot as fewer than 26,520 of those were considered valid signatures. Petitioners were then granted an extra 20-day “signature procurement” period to make up the difference.

After that period, House Our Neighbors submitted 7,543 additional signatures to the city clerk in early August. The group later shared that the clerk had found that the group had actually submitted 9,468 signatures.

Initiative 135, which concerns developing and maintaining affordable housing, would establish a public developer that would create, own, and maintain public housing in Seattle.

“Social housing is publicly owned, publicly financed, mixed-income housing, removed from market forces and speculation, and built with the express aim of housing people equitably and affordably. Under public control and oversight, social housing is sustainable and remains affordable in perpetuity,” the initiative text reads, in part.

Seattle voters will now get to decide on the initiative next year, likely during the city’s next regularly-scheduled special election in February.

“Based on past elections we are assuming February, but it will be up to the city, so we will have to wait on word from them once the petition is put in their court,” said House Our Neighbors in a statement to KIRO 7.

For initiative I-135 to appear on the February ballot, Seattle city council must also pass an ordinance or adopt a resolution authorizing King County Elections to place the initiative on the ballot at least 60 days prior to the special election on Feb. 24.

You can read the full text of I-135 here.