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Seattle council member unveils plan for multi-million dollar low-income housing levy

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda announced the levy Wednesday. It would raise property taxes to help provide for low-income housing.

SEATTLE — A new low-income housing levy was officially announced by Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda during a press conference Wednesday.

With the 2016 Housing Levy expiring at the end of the year, Seattle lawmakers are hoping to have a new levy ready to take its place. The Seattle city council has been working on amending a new levy for months. Here's what Mayor Bruce Harrell's proposed 2023 Low-Income Housing Levy would do.

The levy proposes lifting the limit on property taxes for a maximum of seven years, under Revised Code of Washington 84.55. Property taxes would then be increased during those seven years to help provide housing for low-income individuals and families. This would be done in a variety of ways. 

The levy is currently estimated to create $138.6 million a year in funding for a seven-year total budget of $970 million. That funding will be divided up into different projects. The projects focus on different aspects of low-income housing, including affordable rental housing, rent supplementing and wage stabilization.

Credit: City of Seattle

The funds will be used to provide assistance to low-income homeowners and low-income renters, purchase land for homeownership or rental development, and cover administrative costs for all city-owned land.

“This Housing Levy...will enhance our focus on serving communities most impacted by our housing, homelessness, and displacement crises,” said Mosqueda. “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.” 

City analysts predict the levy would help build over 3,100 new housing units and help provide assistance for over 9,500 households.

"It's a commitment to housing our people with the kind of love, compassion, and dedication that will transform lives and begin repairing the traumas of previous generations,” said Derrick Belgarde, executive director of Chief Seattle Club.

If the levy is approved by the city council, it will appear on Seattle residents' ballots on Nov. 7 and would go into effect in 2024. An oversight committee would be created at that time to review annual reports. The funds and projects would be overseen by the Office of Housing.

The levy will be discussed further at a committee meeting on June 7. If approved, it would move to the full council before heading to the mayor.


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