You’ve probably heard about City Councilmember Kshama Sawant‘s campaign to get the city to build affordable housing with the money it might otherwise spend on a new nine-digit police precinct in North Seattle. Today, she is one of six councilmembers – along with West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold – proposing a new plan:
Six Councilmembers introduced a new proposal today intended to create up to 500 new units of affordable housing for Seattle residents. The housing production would be funded by newly utilizing the City’s existing bonding capacity and paid off over a 30-year term. Councilmembers Bagshaw, González, Herbold, Johnson, O’Brien, and Sawant have signed on to the proposal, which will allow it to be reviewed and discussed at this Wednesday’s 9:30 a.m. Budget Committee meeting.
Councilmembers Bagshaw, González, Herbold, Johnson, and O’Brien said, “In this time of crisis, we thank the advocates in encouraging us to join together in support of a new use of the City’s bonding authority, namely, affordable housing production. There are several details yet to work through, but, with this proposal, we are signaling our common desire to create solutions in this year’s budget deliberations. This proposal does not pit Seattle’s housing needs against other citywide priorities, such as public safety needs.”
The proposal is a measured approach that adds bond funding for housing which, if leveraged with other resources, could result in development support for up to an additional 500 units of affordable housing in 2017. The $29 million is in addition to the Housing Levy’s anticipated 2017 $54 million allocation.
The following memo is illustrative of the opportunities this funding could support. The details and direction of the proposal will be further refined through the Council’s budget deliberations.
Those deliberations are approaching their final stages, with budget adoption due before Thanksgiving.