LOCAL NEWS

Seattle unveils new plan to curb affordable housing crisis

Jul 24, 2019, 3:46 PM | Updated: 5:54 pm
affordable housing...
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan unveiled two new proposals on Wednesday as part of her new “Housing Seattle Now” campaign, a plan to create more affordable housing options for low and middle-income families.

Durkan advances plan for low-income housing in Discovery Park

One piece of legislation would invest at least $50 million to build housing for people experiencing homeless. The money would come from bonding local sales taxes, taking advantage of a new state law.

“It gives cities like ours the chance to keep more of the money paid in sales tax and put it to work to build affordable housing,” said Durkan during a speech today in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. “Instead of sending that money to Olympia, we can keep it right here and put it to work.”

According to the mayor’s office, Seattle would “become the first city to implement the new state law.” If passed by city council, the new funds would be available at the beginning of 2020.

The second measure would renew and extend Seattle’s Multifamily Tax Exemption Program (MFTE), first introduced in 1998. The MFTE provides a tax break to developers who set aside 20 to 25 percent of their units as income and rent-restricted.

“That means we have more affordable apartments and that more Seattleites of different income can live in the same neighborhood and building all across this city,” said Durkan.

The program, set to expire in 2019, has created nearly 4,400 homes. Durkan said extending the MFTE would support at least 1,300 new affordable home over the next three years. It would also limit rent increases to no more than 4.5 percent.

Mayor unveils biggest low-income housing increase in Seattle history

But a similar program in Tacoma shows units created by the city’s tax exemption led to only a fraction of affordable housing options. The Tacoma News Tribune reported about 4 percent – 234 out of 5,934 – were designated to be affordable between 2008 and 2018. Of those units, only 51 have been built.

Durkan also gave indication Wednesday about future opportunities to build affordable housing, including at the so-called “Mercer Mega Block” in the South Lake Union area.

The three city-owned properties span three blocks, cover 2.86 acres, and could accommodate hundreds of apartment units and commercial space. Durkan said she will propose selling the property, using revenue from that sale to create low-interest loans to build backyard cottages or in-law apartments. The mayor signed legislation earlier this month, easing restrictions on building the units.

Local News

Flooding, Whatcom County...
KIRO Radio Newsdesk

Whatcom County under voluntary evacuation as concerns over flooding persist

Whatcom County is under a voluntary evacuation notice this morning over concerns with more potential flooding as rain continues this week.
6 hours ago
Kent shootings...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Kent mayor issues statement after several shootings in same area

After several days of gun violence on Kent’s West Hill, the city’s mayor issued a statement Sunday.
6 hours ago
comic con...
MyNorthwest Staff

Emerald City Comic Con returns Dec. 2-5 after being cancelled in 2020

Emerald City Comic Con didn't happen in 2020 due to the pandemic, but the popular four-day event returns to Seattle on Dec. 2-5.
1 day ago
Whatcom County...
MyNorthwest Staff

Forecasters downgrade flood warning for Skagit River

The National Weather Service in Seattle has downgraded the flood peak for the Skagit River.
2 days ago
police, Lake City seattle...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Person seriously injured in shooting Friday inside Tacoma Mall

A person is in serious conditions after they were shot in the middle of the Tacoma Mall food court on Friday.
3 days ago
Sawant recall...
Dalton Day

A recall Sawant PAC has been released from campaign contribution limit

The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission has released a recall Councilmember Kshama Sawant PAC from its campaign contribution limits.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Seattle unveils new plan to curb affordable housing crisis