SEATTLE (AP) — People in Seattle will soon decide whether the city should set up a public developer to create affordable housing.
Initiative 135—on the ballot of a special election on Feb. 14—would create a public development authority, called the Seattle Social Housing Developer, to construct homes and take over existing properties using government and philanthropic funding to create renter-governed housing.
Supporters of the I-135 say housing would be protected from rental market forces in one of the nation’s most expensive cities.
The housing would be available to people with a wide variety of incomes, from zero to 120% of the average income in our area, currently about $124,000 for a family of two and $155,000 for a family of four. This would include people who often fall through the cracks of the housing system and are increasingly struggling to pay rapidly rising rents, including teachers, social workers, and nurses.
The Seattle Social Housing Developer would not replace the Seattle Housing Authority, the King County Regional Homelessness Authority, or any of the nonprofits that already develop and maintain affordable housing in Seattle. Instead, it would create a new tool, unlike any that currently exists, to build more housing, more quickly.