$970M Seattle Housing Levy to be voted on Wednesday

Jun 6, 2023, 10:23 AM | Updated: 10:24 am

seattle housing levy...

An apartment complex in Seattle (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda — alongside a series of affordable housing developers and labor leaders — announced the renewal of the Seattle Housing Levy at the end of May, and it is now up for a vote Wednesday, June 7.

This new levy was drafted with the upcoming expiration of the 2016 Housing Levy, which was set to expire later this year.

“This Housing Levy renewal legislation affirms the bold investment into the health and resilience of our city proposed by the Mayor, and reflects Councilmember priorities that will enhance our focus on serving communities most impacted by our housing, homelessness, and displacement crises,” Mosqueda said. “This package goes beyond creating just units — it invests in the stability and well-being of our neighbors, the workers, and the communities who make up the fabric of our city.”

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The Housing Levy was initially created in 1986 as a way to fund affordable housing in the city, creating and preserving over 11,000 affordable rental homes and over 1,000 homeownership opportunities over its existence.

This version of the Housing Levy would fund the building of more than 3,100 new homes, both for rent and for sale, that will be affordable for at least 50 years. The 2023 Housing Levy is expected to generate nearly 35% more units of affordable rental housing over the 2016 levy goals.

Mosqueda currently chairs the city council’s Select Committee on the 2023 Housing Levy, which received Mayor Bruce Harrell’s $970 million proposal in March. The new levy, now approved by the city council, would last through 2030.

“The Housing Levy is a proven solution for delivering thousands of affordable housing options,” said Harrell in a prepared statement. “Rooted in our One Seattle values that everyone should have a safe place to call home, this plan invests to meet the scale of the housing crisis, doing more than ever to prevent homelessness.”

More than 16,000 people are estimated to live in Levy-supported homes at any given time, according to the City of Seattle.

Seattle mayor approves $970M levy to fund affordable housing projects

“The 2023 Housing Levy, as proposed, will help us respond to Seattle’s needs today, while also planning for the next 50 years of housing affordability in our city,” said Maiko Winkler-Chin, Director of the Office of Housing, in a prepared statement. “As we move through the next steps to renew the Housing Levy this year, we look forward to continuing to work alongside the Mayor’s Office, City Council, and all of our housing partners to lay the groundwork for strong, resilient communities for future generations.”

The Select Committee on the 2023 Housing Levy will meet June 7 for a vote on the 2023 Housing Levy legislation. If voted out of committee, it will then proceed to the full city council for a final vote. If passed, it will head to the mayor for his signature.

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$970M Seattle Housing Levy to be voted on Wednesday