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Seattle Housing Levy

What is the Seattle Housing Levy?

Since 1986 the Housing Levy has been the cornerstone of funding for affordable housing in Seattle, creating and preserving over 15,000 affordable rental homes and over 1,000 homeownership opportunities throughout the city. The Housing Levy has also provided long-term and consistent operating, maintenance, and services support for over 1,300 affordable homes. For nearly 40 years, Seattle residents have consistently supported this critical resource, with the most recent Housing Levy in 2016 receiving a voter approval rate of over 70%.

Why is the City of Seattle developing a proposal to renew the Housing Levy?

Housing Levy funds work together with other local funds, including proceeds from the Payroll Expense Tax and Mandatory Housing Affordability program, to help the Office of Housing and our partners address needs across the entire affordable housing ecosystem. City of Seattle investments are creating more affordable homes than ever, with nearly 6,000 new affordable rental and for-sale homes slated to open in the coming years. However, the need for affordable and available homes in Seattle is greater than ever. With the 2016 Housing Levy set to expire at the end of 2023, the City of Seattle is now developing a proposal to renew it.

For information about upcoming opportunities to learn about and comment on the City of Seattle's Housing Levy renewal proposal, please view "What's Happening Now" tab.

Housing Levy Renewal Timeline

Summary of Stakeholder Input Received (January – July 2022) 

From January to July 2022, the Office of Housing convened diverse affordable housing stakeholders to assess industry and community needs throughout Seattle. Stakeholders included affordable housing developers, operators, funders, and other partners across the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Stakeholder feedback is summarized below.

  • Significant increase in resources to meet community needs across the entire affordable housing ecosystem is needed.
  • Costs of new development have increased and long-term maintenance needs of the existing portfolio of City-funded affordable housing need to be addressed.
  • There are needs and opportunities for targeted equity investments and support for organizations rooted in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
  • Both workers and residents of affordable housing buildings need more support to sustain and maintain buildings and to grow over time.

In August 2016, Seattle voters approved a $290 million Housing Levy with ambitious affordable housing goals. After five years, the 2016 Housing Levy has exceeded its goals around rental housing production, rental housing preservation, and homeownership, and is on track to meet the remaining goals by the end of 2023.

Summary of 5-Year Progress Toward 7-Year Housing Levy Goals (2017-2021)

Seattle Housing Levy Oversight Committee

With the passage of the Housing Levy, voters also approved the establishment of an oversight committee, for the purpose of monitoring the progress of Levy programs, recommending funding policies, and annually reporting to the Mayor, City Council, and the public.

The 13 members of the Housing Levy Oversight Committee, all confirmed by City Council, are selected as follows:

  • one City employee appointed by the Mayor
  • one City employee appointed by the City Council
  • six community members appointed by the Mayor
  • five community members appointed by City Council

The current Housing Levy Oversight Committee members include:

Ann Melone, Chair, U.S. Bancorp
Beth Boram, Beacon Development Group
Cara Kadoshima Vallier, Office of Mayor Bruce Harrell
Colin Morgan-Cross, Mercy Housing Northwest
Damien James, The Northwest School
Dan Wise, Catholic Community Services
Denise Rodriguez, Washington Homeownership Resource Center
Erin Christensen Ishizaki, Mithun Architects
Joel Ing, Edge Developers
Patience Malaba, Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County
Pradeepta Upadhyay, InterIm CDA
Traci Ratzliff, City Council Central Staff
Vallerie Fisher, Southeast Seattle Resident

High-Level Housing Levy Renewal Timeline

Public and Stakeholder Engagement

Between February 2022 and January 2023, the Office of Housing convened multiple groups and meetings to take input on the Housing Levy proposal from subject matter experts, stakeholders, and the public. During this period, 38 formal public comments were received both as testimony at public meetings and in writing.

Housing Levy Leadership Group

  • 3 Meetings
  • 14 Members representing Housing Levy organizational stakeholders

Focus Groups

  • 3 Focus Groups: Homeownership, Rental Housing, Equity
  • 36 Organizations engaged representing Office of Housing Levy funding recipients

Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)

  • 3 Meetings with opportunities for public testimony: 10/28/2022, 11/18/2022, 12/16/2022
  • 20 Committee Members representing broad cross-section of affordable housing sector, expertise, and other stakeholders
  • 2 Draft Proposals reviewed and revised, based on Committee Member and public feedback

Housing Levy Open Houses

  • 3 Open House events held at Housing Levy-funded buildings and virtually:
    • DESC’s Hobson Place, 12/6/2022
    • Northaven Senior Living, 12/14/2022
    • Virtual Open House, 1/5/2023
  • Members of the public were invited to learn about the Housing Levy and share their thoughts and desires for the renewal proposal.

For recordings of TAC meetings and other materials, see the Background Info and Resources tab.

Public Meetings

The Housing Levy Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), made up of technical and subject matter experts in the affordable housing field, has convened to provide feedback on the initial Levy proposal. Public comment periods were also offered at TAC meetings for those interested in testifying about the Levy proposal. Open Houses in Levy-funded buildings have also taken place where members of the public had an opportunity to learn about the Levy and provide input on the initial proposal. Public comment will be accepted through January 13, 2023 and can be submitted by contacting Nathan.Antonio@seattle.gov

Previous Meetings

Public comments received at TAC meetings, Open House events, and via e-mail before January 13, 2023 will be compiled, analyzed, and used to inform the Office of Housing Director’s Housing Levy Proposal to Mayor Harrell.



Housing

Maiko Winkler-Chin, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 5700, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94725, Seattle, WA , 98124-4725
Phone: (206) 684-0721
Fax: (206) 233-7117
Housing@seattle.gov

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The mission of the Office of Housing (OH) is to create strong, healthy communities, prevent displacement and increase opportunities for people of all income levels to live in Seattle.