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Proposition 1 (Low-Income Housing Levy): PubliCola Picks "Yes"

By PublicolaPicks October 19, 2009

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People need places to live so they don’t get wet. Or cold. Or any of the other myriad ills that can befall people when they are, say, homeless. Seattle voters will get the opportunity to address this by voting for Proposition 1, a renewal of Seattle’s low-income housing levy, which will roll out $145 million in aid over seven years starting in 2010.

The levy would pay for the construction of 1,670 new apartments, rental assistance for 3,025 families, and homebuyer assistance for 180 families in Seattle. The rest of the money would go toward short-term loans to buy land for affordable housing and money for operations and maintenance of existing low-income housing. Fully 60 percent of the levy will be targeted at people making less than 30 percent of Seattle’s median income, or around $17,700 for a one-person household. Another 30 percent will go to residents making up to $40,440 for a two-person household; and less than 10 percent will be reserved for people making up to 80 percent of median, or $51,200 for a two-person household.

That’s a lot of numbers, so look at it this way: For a modest investment, we get thousands of new units of housing (and construction jobs for the folks who will build them).

Seattle voters have passed the housing levy three times, in 1986, 1995, and 2002. This time, the levy will cost the average Seattle homeowner about $65 a year—the same tax level as the last housing levy. We think it’s well worth the investment.

PubliCola picks “yes” on Proposition 1.
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