(EDITOR’S NOTE: According to city officials, Seattle will leverage an additional $600 million in public and private investments, and over the last three years has directly invested $250 million, for a total of almost $1.5 billion, to create nearly 4,000 affordable homes.)
Seattle (December 9, 2019) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today announced that the City of Seattle will invest $110 million to create 1,944 new affordable homes in neighborhoods across Seattle, the largest investment and the largest number of affordable homes ever created in Seattle in one year in our City’s history. Since Mayor Durkan entered office in 2017, the City has directly invested $250 million and together with our partners nearly $1.5 billion in public and private resources to create and preserve affordable homes.
The 2019 funds invested through the City’s Office of Housing will support the construction of thirteen new buildings in Seattle (1,944 apartments) and will support a range of communities, including seniors, low-wage workers and families and people experiencing homelessness. Several of the new affordable housing buildings will include ground floor spaces to benefit the residents of the new buildings and the surrounding community – childcare, a senior health center and community spaces.
The City’s rental housing awards of $110 million will leverage at least an additional $600 million in investments through additional public and private sources.
“Over the last three years, we have made monumental and historic investments in affordable housing. With nearly 900 city funded affordable homes that came online this year and another 3,400 expected to come online in the next few years, we have created a true partnership to deliver on affordability in our city,” said Mayor Durkan. “Seattle is committed to investing in housing and services that help advance our shared priorities of equity and inclusion. With investments in both permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness, affordable housing for seniors, and housing for working families, we are addressing our affordability crisis.”
Funding sources for the Office of Housing investments include the 2016 voter-passed Seattle Housing Levy, incentive zoning and Mandatory Housing Affordability payments, $32 million in Real Estate Excise Taxes and over $13 million through retained sales taxes, made possible by changes in state law authorized by the 2019 Washington State Legislature and Seattle City Council.
“This historic investment in affordable homes reflects our values to create an affordable, equitable and inclusive city that will yield benefits to Seattle residents for generations to come,” said Emily Alvarado, Director of the Seattle Office of Housing. “The funding through the Office of Housing will help build homes for people experiencing homelessness, provide stability and safety for seniors, mitigate displacement and help people who work in Seattle live close to their jobs.”
Every year, the Office of Housing provides a notice of funding availability for the Rental Housing Program. Affordable housing developers submit proposals that respond to City priorities. This year’s awards support 13 proposals.
Over the last 38 years, the Office of Housing has invested nearly $840 million in the creation and preservation of over nearly 14,000 affordable rental homes (including today’s announcement). These homes are located in high-quality, sustainable buildings located throughout the City of Seattle. They remain affordable to people with incomes ranging from zero to 60 percent of the area median income, up to $46,500 for individuals and $66,400 for a family of four. The affordability remains for a minimum of 50 years, typically many years longer, and provides stability for homeless adults, families and youth, seniors and people with disabilities and low-wage working individuals and families.
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. OH supports development and preservation of affordable multifamily homes, homeownership opportunities, policy and program development, free weatherization services and home repair loans and stewardship of city-funded affordable homes.
The City of Seattle expects nearly 5,000 new affordable homes to come online between now and 2022 – this may be viewed on the Office of Housing’s Affordable Housing Under Development Dashboard. Note that the 1,944 to be created with funding awarded today are not yet included in the dashboard.