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Plan for $29 million Seattle affordable housing bond approved



The Seattle City Council Wednesday finalized its proposed changes to the city’s 2017-2018 budget including District 1 representative Lisa Herbold’s $29 million plan to build hundreds of units of affordable housing through a bond and shuffling of funds from the Seattle Department of Transportation and the Seattle Police Department’s North Precinct project.

“We are in a homelessness state of emergency,” Herbold said in a statement on Wednesday’s approval. “We need to build today to meet the need. Building today is less expensive than building at future costs, and these funds will continue to benefit the community for the entire period of the bond payment under their 50+ year regulatory agreement. When the City issues bonds to finance capital needs we gain the ability to deliver projects faster and enjoy their benefits sooner.”

The Council will vote on adopting the proposals Monday.

The plan to raise $29 million in additional affordable housing funding was approved by the Council in a 7-2 vote with the frequent voting bloc of at large member Tim Burgess and District 5 rep Debora Juarez coming out against the plan.

The plan would raise $29 million in 2017 through bonds that would be paid off over 30 years. The money would be put to use creating hundreds of units of affordable housing though specifics of how the money will be spent are to be determined.

“We will work with the Office of Housing to evaluate and develop options for funding, either proposing utilization of the entire $29 million in bond funding at one time for a specific project or program, or using funding over time for several projects or programs,” Herbold said.

Before the vote on Herbold’s bill, Kshama Sawant’s proposal that would have gutted the $160 million North Precinct project and put the funding toward housing was rejected by the Council.

Following the votes, Sawant credited the “Build 1,000 Homes Coalition” and the People’s Budget effort for the plan’s approval:

Together, our movement has won $29 million for affordable housing. We didn’t get everything that we wanted today, but this is a significant step forward for the People’s Budget movement. It was only won because our remarkable and diverse coalition of over 75 organizations came together to demand Council invest in housing now. I want to thank everyone who joined, and the many activists who dedicated hour after hour to wresting this victory from the political establishment.

Herbold said the money may be coming at a much needed time.

“There is legitimate cause for concern that some elements of HALA plan rely on federal resources that may now be at risk,” she said. “As Rachel Myers, Executive Director of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance said, ‘The combination of Seattle’s housing needs and the uphill struggle to find alternate resources make local investments in affordable housing more critical than ever.’”

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7 thoughts on “Plan for $29 million Seattle affordable housing bond approved

  1. So, Sawant is taking credit for the plan that Lisa Herbold championed at the Council Typical. Ms. Herbold knows that politics is the art of compromise…..something that Sawant doesn’t seem to recognize.

    I hope the additional $29 million will be spent wisely…..stay tuned.

  2. The housing crisis translates into more than the impact on the homeless. Probably 80% of employed adults in the area are not on tech salaries but property owners want luxury level rents for buildings built as far back as the 1920’s. People from baristas to seemingly week paid office workers are being priced out of Seattle AND the surrounding region as well. Lets not forget the housing crisis is hitting many levels of the city’s population. Does city leadership mind remembering they are to represent all the people of the city?

  3. That’s why Sawant’s efforts, like them or not, are important. We’ve gone from 1,000 possible new affordable units to “hundreds”. Compromise like this is business-as-usual in politics/government and continues to devalue all people in our community. It is sad that not enough people knew about the Green Party/Stein campaign. They had the only plan that addressed these issues and so much more, viably, while immediately creating foundational change for the environment, too; hand-in-hand. If you don’t understand what being marginalized is like, you need to decide to learn the truth of it’s cruelties, not remain ignorant.

    • Considering Stein thinks vaccines cause autism (and shes an actual medical doctor), its hard to take anything she says seriously. If politics were a baseball analogy, Stein would be stuck in high school, not even in the minor leagues.

    • I am no fan of Stein’s, but in the full context of what she said, she did not say vaccines cause autism.

      But I would posit, TM– if not enough people knew about the Green Party’s platform, why is that? Could it be because they only come out of hiding every 4 years, when they make a lot of noise running a Presidential candidate? Then disappear again? Yes, there are a tiny handful of Green Party officeholders nationwide, but it’s not enough to be taken seriously.

      The Green Party needs to do a much better job of running more– and better– grassroots candidates on a local and State basis. Every year, not just big election years. For all kinds of jobs. Not expecting to vault right to the top with no record to run on. Sorry, that’s not how it works. Until we see more Green Party members serving in local offices with real faces and real records attached to them, they’ll lack any serious credibility.

    • The current government system no longer supports third parties to be an active part of the debates and media follows suit. 3 seconds/month coverage for third parties this election; well over 1,000 minutes for our 2-party candidates. Granted, WA State has been dismal getting Green candidates to run; but this is not true across the nation. Not surprising we don’t hear about that either.

      All I can say to this claim that the Green Party has no “credible experience” (if it were true) is: where exactly has “credible experience” gotten us today?

      Ever more toxic environment, causing ever more sick people, worsening healthcare costs, continued marginalization of most of our populace, wars over oil creating terrorism…all leading to ever more desperate and, sadly, angry people.

      I can’t choose that kind of “credible experience” anymore since it has failed to manifest in deep changes in how we live on the planet and with each other. Just offering a different perspective to consider.


  4. So it turns out that Sawant’s much-vaunted objection to the absurdly expensive new $150 million police station was more hot air. She sure knows how to grandstand, but make actual change, well, that’s not her department.

    With all the revenue the city is bringing in from our economic boom, higher real estate prices, etc, this bond issue which will build a few hundred units at most is just an expensive drop in the bucket. Where is our city spending the substantial increases in revenue they have received every year since the recession (from one of the most regressive tax systems in the USA)?

    Oh, I remember — a few million bailing out the head of SDOT on a bankrupt bike-share system — you know, to help all the low-income folks who can afford to rent a bike by the hour. Incredibly expensive police stations.