City of Seattle

LETTER FROM THE MAYOR

Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in America and housing costs are rising beyond the reach of far too many individuals and families. My vision for Seattle is an inclusive city where those who work here can afford to live here. Together, we can build a Seattle that is just and a city where our children and grandchildren can afford to live.

I have set the goal of creating 20,000 new homes affordable for lower-wage workers and low-income families over the coming decade. To achieve this ambitious goal, the City is working on a comprehensive strategy based on a series of recommendations from the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) advisory committee. These recommendations are based on the belief that as Seattle grows, we can be socially inclusive, environmentally sustainable and economically equitable. A key HALA recommendation is to renew and expand the Seattle Housing Levy.

The Seattle Housing Levy is the cornerstone of our City’s affordable housing strategy. Generously approved by Seattle voters in 1981 and renewed four times since, the Housing Levy has created over 12,000 units of affordable housing for our most vulnerable and lower-income residents. The current levy expires in 2016, and because of its strong track record of success, I am calling for a renewal and doubling of the Housing Levy.

We also need new strategies, such as a commercial linkage fee that funds affordable housing and mandatory inclusionary housing that requires all new multifamily development to either build or fund affordable housing. We must also vigorously advocate for renewed State and Federal investments.

These are bold and progressive ideas. But our affordability crisis requires big solutions. Together, our community is ready to achieve our shared vision of an affordable and equitable city.

- Edward B. Murray
Mayor, City of Seattle

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Letter from the mayor

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OVER 45,000 SEATTLE HOUSEHOLDS PAY MORE THAN HALF THEIR INCOME FOR HOUSING

Many working people are struggling to afford housing in Seattle, particularly as rents outpace incomes. Others find themselves facing the prospect of homelessness.

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IT TAKES TWO PEOPLE WORKING FULL TIME AT $15/HR TO AFFORD THE AVERAGE 1 BEDROOM APARTMENT

$2,000
$1,500
$1,000
$500
$0

Food Prep Server
$11/HR

Janitor
$14.71/HR

Secretary
$19.87/HR

Auto Mechanic
$22.63/HR

Postal Service Mail Carrier
$25.54/HR

Average 1 Bedroom
Rent $1,544/mo

Average 2 Bedroom
Rent $1,774/mo

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SEATTLE VALUES AND INVESTS IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Consistent support for the Seattle Housing Levy in 1986, 1995, 2002, and 2009 has helped create over 12,500 affordable apartments, assisted 800 lower-income families in purchasing their first homes, and provided emergency rental assistance to 6,500 households.

1981 Senior Housing Bond: $48.17 million
Senior housing $48,170,000 1,297 units

$48

million
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1986 Housing Levy: $50 million over 8 years
Small family rental housing $10,804,000 446 units
Large family rental housing $10,996,000 178 units
Special needs rental housing $14,575,000 698 units
Downtown housing preservation $6,100,000 505 units
Operating and maintenance $5,000,000 252 units
TOTAL PRODUCTION 1,818 units

$50

million
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1995 Housing Levy: $59 million over 7 years
Rental preservation & production $46,531,678 2,301 units
Homebuyer assistance $2,447,305 90 units
Homeowner housing repair $4,072,492 241 units
Operating and maintenance $8,751,000 294 units
TOTAL PRODUCTION 2,632 units

$59

million
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2002 Housing Levy: $86 million over 7 years
Rental preservation & production $56,100,000 1,882 units
Neighborhood housing opportunity $7,200,000 333 units
Homebuyer assistance $9,800,000 197 units
Operating and maintenance $7,800,000 244 units
Homelessness prevention $2,800,000 4,735 households
TOTAL PRODUCTION 2,459 units

$86

million
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2009 Housing Levy: $145 million over 7 years (Program Goals)
Rental preservation & production $104,000,000 1,670 units
Homebuyer assistance $9,090,000 180 units
Operating and maintenance $14,400,000 220 units
Acquisition/opportunity loans $6,500,000 175 units
Homelessness prevention $4,248,000 3,025 households
TOTAL PRODUCTION 1,850 units

$145

million
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1981 Senior Housing Bond: $48.17 million
Senior housing $48,170,000 1,297 units
1986 Housing Levy: $50 million over 8 years
Small family rental housing $10,804,000 446 units
Large family rental housing $10,996,000 178 units
Special needs rental housing $14,575,000 698 units
Downtown housing preservation $6,100,000 505 units
Operating and maintenance $5,000,000 252 units
TOTAL PRODUCTION 1,818 units
1995 Housing Levy: $59 million over 7 years
Rental preservation & production $46,531,678 2,301 units
Homebuyer assistance $2,447,305 90 units
Homeowner housing repair $4,072,492 241 units
Operating and maintenance $8,751,000 294 units
TOTAL PRODUCTION 2,632 units
2002 Housing Levy: $86 million over 7 years
Rental preservation & production $56,100,000 1,882 units
Neighborhood housing opportunity $7,200,000 333 units
Homebuyer assistance $9,800,000 197 units
Operating and maintenance $7,800,000 244 units
Homelessness prevention $2,800,000 4,735 households
TOTAL PRODUCTION 2,459 units
2009 Housing Levy: $145 million over 7 years (Program Goals)
Rental preservation & production $104,000,000 1,670 units
Homebuyer assistance $9,090,000 180 units
Operating and maintenance $14,400,000 220 units
Acquisition/opportunity loans $6,500,000 175 units
Homelessness prevention $4,248,000 3,025 households
TOTAL PRODUCTION 1,850 units

History of the Seattle Housing Levy

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Children

Children who lack the stability of a home lag behind their peers academically and are more likely to be in poor health and suffer developmental delays. Health and educational outcomes improve when children have the security of an affordable home.

Carla and J’Carlo – Compass on Dexter, Compass Housing Alliance “His mind is at ease, just as much as mine.”

STUDENTS LOSE
4-6 months of

ACADEMIC PROGRESS

each time they move schools

45%

75%

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Seniors

Seniors are among those most impacted by rising housing costs. When rents rise but incomes remain limited lower-income seniors are left with few choices. Affordable housing provides seniors an opportunity to remain in their neighborhood, close to the services and community supports they rely on.

Joe West – First and Vine Apartments, Bellwether Housing “Words can’t describe how much this has changed my life. Sometimes I’ll walk into this room and say, ‘Walls, how are you today.”

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38%

of senior households in Seattle make less than half the median income.

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About 9,000

senior households in Seattle pay more than half their income on housing.

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80%

For the lowest income seniors, Social Security makes up over 80% of their income.

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Over 1,600

seniors have affordable housing thanks to the Seattle Housing Levy.

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Homeless

Seattle is experiencing a crisis of homelessness. In January 2015, there were 5,203 people without a stable and permanent home in Seattle. Affordable housing, emergency rental support, and services minimize homelessness and provide the stability and dignity of a home for our most vulnerable residents.

Maria Nevratakis – Cottage Grove Apartments, DESC
“11 months ago if you would have told me that I was going to have an apartment, be clean and sober, have a job, have a relationship with my children and family, I’d have thought you were crazy.”

In January 2016 There Were

2,942

People Without Shelter in Seattle

3,200

Homeless people living in shelters
and transitional housing (2016 Data)

cost per night

of care

$29

EMERGENCY SHELTER

$35

PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING

$130

JAIL

$2,000

PSYCHIACTRIC

$4,000

HOSPITAL

19%

increase in homelessness between 2015 and 2016 in King County

Homeless In
2015

Homeless In
2016

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$241 MILLION

Invested by the City of Seattle in affordable housing projects that include 3,546 permanent homes and 800 transitional homes for homeless members of our community.

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Equity

Rising housing costs are leading to displacement of Seattle’s lower-income residents, who are disproportionately people of color. Investment in affordable housing both creates opportunities and allows long-term residents to stay in the communities they call home. When affordable housing is available throughout the city, residents have choices of locations near their jobs, school, family members, and cultural communities.

Rick Wyman – Arbor Woods Apartments, Mt. Baker Housing
“To provide people with safe and affordable housing, that is one of the most key things that can possibly be done to change our society.”

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Rent has increased 29%

for an average 1-bedroom apartment in Seattle during the last five years, causing many to be priced out of their homes. Housing cost burden is especially challenging for African American families in Seattle; one third are paying over half their income for rent. Housing funded by the Seattle Housing Levy serves a higher proportion of people of color than Seattle’s low-income renter populations as a whole.

Household Race/Ethnicity

OH Rental Housing Program Residents, 2013

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Economy

Seattle’s economy thrives when people of all incomes can live near where they work. Currently about one in ten homes in Seattle are rent-restricted for lower-income residents, providing housing opportunities for the workers that are a vital part of our economy. In addition, the 30,000 income-restricted apartments in Seattle contribute to the local tax base. A diverse and equitable city is an investment in the long-term viability of our community and economy.

Daniel Gotkin – previous Homesight homeowner “Homeownership enabled us to pass on that inheritance that so many people take advantage of, for the next generation.”

WHY AFFORDABLE HOUSING MATTERS to the Economy

  • Affordable housing increases the money available to lower-income families for purchasing goods and services in the local economy.
  • Housing availability and housing costs are two of the top five most important factors for where businesses choose to locate.
  • Affordable housing near transit reduces the impact on roads and congestion by providing the opportunity for people to live near where they work.
  • The Seattle Housing Levy leverages $3 in other public, private, and philanthropic funds for each City dollar invested.
  • The Levy has provided an estimated 591 permanent local jobs with a total income of over $45 million annually, and is contributing over $16 million per year in taxes for local government.
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Environment

Increasing housing costs and a widening income gap are forcing many lower-income residents in Seattle to move outside of the city. Lower housing costs, however, are typically offset by higher transportation costs and long commutes that increase pollution, congestion, and take away from time that can be spent with family or in the community. Investing in affordable housing near job centers is good for the environment and our community.

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Amy Kim, 12th Ave Arts, Capitol Hill Housing
“Some days I could spend three or four hours on the bus. If I wanted to do anything after work it meant spending more time in the car or on the bus.”

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16%

of lowest-income families spend more on transportation than food or healthcare.

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Think Green

Affordable housing funded by the City must meet Evergreen Green Building Standards for quality, durability, and sustainability.

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100%

of affordable housing funded by the Seattle Housing Levy is located within ¼ mile of a bus stop.

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