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TCC Endorses Yes for Homes - Seattle Housing Levy
Guest blog post by TCC Rainer Scholar intern Daniel Ewenetu.
TCC supports vibrant, affordable, walkable, bike-friendly communities, connected by frequently and reliable transit of which, affordable housing is an important component.
A recent Seattle study found that homes within a mile of light rail cost an average of 10% more, with the Seattle Housing Levy prioritizing funding for affordable housing around transit stations we at Transportation Choices Coalition support the levy as housing and transportation are the top 2 household expenses for Puget Sound households.
As Seattle continues to grow as the vibrant hub of the northwest and attracts new residents by the masses, housing costs continue to skyrocket as the supply diminishes. With rent in Seattle metro area surpassing $2000 a month, for a large portion of the community the issue of housing has become ever
so critical. On the bright side, Prop 1 or the Seattle Housing Levy, is on the ballot for August 2nd to continue Seattle's extensive 35 year track record of supporting its working class and low-income citizens with affordable housing.
Since the beginning of the city's commitment in 1981 with the Senior Housing Bond, over 12,500 affordable housing units have been created and preserved. Over the course of these 35 years, Seattle has voted and approved 5 levies to produce and preserve affordable housing; each levy exceeding its own goals. The levies since 2002 have also gone beyond producing affordable housing units by also proving 6500 families with emergency rental assistance as well as case management for those in risk of homelessness.
The new levy on the ballot would double the amount raised by the existing levy to $290 Million.
The $290 Million would fund 3 major city programs for the next 7 years. First, over 90% of the levy would produce and preserve 2150 additional affordable housing units targeting 30% AMI residents, reinvest in 350 current units to expand their lifespan and provide operating funds to support 510 tenant-paid
apartments that serves extremely low-income residents. The levy would also continue to fund the homelessness prevention program with the goal of supporting 4500 more families at imminent risk of eviction with emergency rental assistance. Finally, the levy would also provide some funding for keeping 100 low-income residents in their homes and help 180 first-time home buyers find affordable homes.
What would it cost? The current expiring levy that raised $145 Million cost around $5 a month for median assessed home, the new $290 Million levy would cost just $5 more dollars a month for the next 7 years. However, when looking at the big picture with 20% of Seattle residents are considered “severely cost burdened” by spending over 50% of their take home pay on rent/mortgage and basic utilities, the additional $5 a month in taxes can go a long way in supporting over 6000 families.
Equitable Loans for TOD - http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/Housing/Footer%20Pages/HousingLevy_AFPlan-FundingPolicies_2014-16.pdf