The City is committed to achieving racial and social equity in Seattle. One way the City works to address racial and social equity is by creating and preserving affordable housing, particularly for lower-income households. Public investments in affordable housing enable people to continue living in their neighborhoods. Creating affordable housing is also a way to expand housing options in historically unaffordable neighborhoods.

For over 35 years, the Seattle Office of Housing has strategically invested Seattle Housing Levy and other local, state and federal funds to both create new and preserve threatened affordable apartments and homes throughout Seattle. The Office of Housing manages programs: 

  • Funding affordable housing - OH invests in affordable housing development; funds from the Seattle Housing Levy and development payments leverage other public and private funds to build hundreds of homes each year. Awards are made through a competitive process.
  • Incentivizing affordable housing - OH manages a number of City programs and policies that create affordable housing through incentives (e.g. multifamily tax exemption; incentive zoning; mandatory housing affordability). OH also provides oversight and compliance services.
  • Weatherizing and repairing homes - Low-income homeowners and renters can receive free or low-cost weatherization improvements. Low-income homeowners can also access loans and grants for critical home repairs.
  • Providing homeownership assistance - OH provides funding for downpayment assistance loans and invests in permanently affordable homeownership opportunities for first-time low-income homebuyers.

Rent and Income Limits Update:

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published the 2018 Seattle-Bellevue, WA metro area income guidelines on March 30. Historically, income and rent limits for City-supported affordable rental housing programs have been based on the HUD income guidelines.  Using the previous methodology, the 2018 HUD income guidelines would result in an 11.5 percent increase in rents, compounding a 6.3 percent increase in rents in 2017. In light of the significant two-year increase, the Office of Housing 2017 published rent and income guidelines will continue to apply to all City-supported affordable rental housing programs until further notice.


Office of Housing Releases 2017 Annual Investments Report

The Office of Housing Investments Report summarizes Seattle's affordable housing production and preservation, including rental housing, assistance to home buyers and homeowners, and energy efficiency grants. 

Highlights include: Affordable homes opening, funding for housing development and sustainability, investment in locations that support residents and advance equitable development, and homeowner/renter information demonstrating that programs serve racial and ethnic groups with disproportionate rates of housing cost burden and homelessness.   

Three supplemental reports contain information about the performance of the Seattle Housing Levy, Incentive Zoning and Mandatory Housing Affordability, and the Multifamily Tax Exemption Program. 

City of Seattle Announces $100 Million in Affordable Housing Investments

On December 18, 2017 Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced more than $100 million in investments to build and preserve 1,450 affordable homes in neighborhoods across Seattle, including the construction of 896 new homes in nine new buildings. These Office of Housing investments represent a spectrum of different housing types for low-income residents, including permanent supportive housing for those experiencing homelessness, apartments for low-income individuals and families, transit-oriented development, and homes for first-time homebuyers.