Over the course of July, Beacon Development Group’s Seattle office will be hosting and participating in two phone banks for the city’s 2016 Housing Levy. The property tax, first approved off the ballot in 1981, will be up for renewal for the sixth time in August. The proposed $290 million levy will be dedicated to producing affordable housing options and providing support to low-income families, seniors, individuals with disabilities, and low-wage workers within Seattle.
After expanding upon its predecessor and leveraging every city dollar with $3 dollars from other sources, the 2009 Housing Levy outperformed expectations, exceeding the goal of producing 1,670 affordable housing units by roughly 30% and providing emergency rent assistance to 2,442 families.
This time around, the mayor is proposing to expand the levy once more. The levy can be broken down into four main programs:
- Rental Production & Preservation – $201 million, which would oversee the development and rehabilitation of 2,500 apartments with affordable rents secured for at least 50 years
- Operating & Maintenance – $42 million, which would provide subsidies for 510 units that serve extremely low-income individuals
- Homelessness Prevention – $11.5 million, which would supply rent assistance and stabilization services to 4,500 households
- Homeownership – $9.5 million, which would assist a total of 280 households with loans for home repairs and first-time home purchases
Each program would prioritize individuals making below 30% AMI, but would stretch to support those making up to 60% AMI.
The 2016 tax would cost just $122 annually for owners of median value homes. While the levy is focused on housing and homelessness prevention, the effect of taxpayer dollars would extend far beyond this. The Housing Levy would produce thousands of jobs in construction and management, increase the city’s energy and water efficiency with green building standard projects, and most importantly, foster inclusive, equitable communities throughout Seattle. Beacon Development Group is proud to be a part of the effort to renew the Seattle Housing Levy.