On a big day for the Seattle City Council, Kshama Sawant is celebrating a small victory for housing in the Central District.
As part of a busy morning of sorting out how best to spend the some $200 million a year expected to be generated by the city’s newly approved tax on big businesses, the council’s budget committee approved Sawan’ts amendment calling for at least $18 million year in the new tax spending plan to fund the construction of new affordable housing in the Central District.
“Thanks to our powerful community movement, $18 million will be set aside annually beginning in 2022, to build affordable housing in the Central District for Black working-class and poor families,” Sawant said Thursday in a press release on the approval. “It represents a minimum floor of investment, not a ceiling, because other housing funds in the Amazon tax “spending plan” resolution, the Housing Levy, and other sources also can and should be accessed for affordable housing development in the neighborhood.”
Sawant’s win represents a compromise victory. The socialist city council member had originally called for a $50 million dedicated fund for the area with the backing of Seattle Black clergy and faith leaders (PDF):
We call for City Council to enact a progressive tax on big business to fund housing and services, including construction of at least 1,000 homes in the Central Area to bring back households that have been displaced over the years by racist gentrification.
The coalition said the dedicated funding “would begin to undo racist gentrification policies that private developers and the city have been responsible for creating and perpetuating over the years.”
The Central District funding is joined by amendments earmarking millions for new “tiny home” villages in the city and further relief for small businesses pummeled by the COVID-19 crisis.
The full JumpStart tax funding resolution including the dedicated Central District housing funding now goes to the full City Council for a final vote on Monday.
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