City’s Largest Single-Year Housing Investment
Investment in Homeownership Opportunities Nearly Doubled, with Focus on Households Led by People of Color
SEATTLE (September 27, 2021) – After four consecutive years of record-breaking investments in affordable housing, in her final proposed budget, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan proposed $200 million to support affordable housing investments – a single-year record – including the production, preservation, and rapid acquisition of affordable homes throughout Seattle. This proposal includes a record contribution to create equitable access to new permanently affordable homeownership opportunities, a critical cornerstone for building generational wealth in communities of color. In addition, there is $19.7 million for the Equitable Development Initiative. This is the largest single-year housing investment in the history of the City of Seattle.
“Our City is in the midst of a housing and homelessness crisis that was generations in the making, and from day one, my administration has worked urgently, pioneering new efforts based on best practices to quickly add housing throughout the city. While I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, making historic investments to provide 6,600 affordable homes, it’s clear there is still much work to be done. My proposed budget will invest $200 million towards affordable housing, the largest single-year investment in the history of the city,” said Mayor Durkan. “With this proposed budget, we will nearly double investments in permanently affordable homeownership opportunities and prioritize equitable access for people of color who have for too long been denied an equal opportunity to own their home.”
To support communities of color who have long been impacted by discriminatory housing and lending policies, the Mayor’s proposed budget includes an historic increase in resources that will nearly double homeownership investments adopted in 2021. This historic investment will prioritize equitable access to homeowner stabilization programs and first-time homeownership opportunities for households led by people of color. These resources will support households with incomes at or below 80 percent of area median income, $64,790 for an individual and $92,560 for a family of four.
In alignment with a recommendation by the Equitable Communities Initiative Task Force (ECITF), the Office of Housing today released a Request For Proposals (RFP) that will provide $875,000 to support homeowners in communities at high risk of displacement to stay in their homes and improve their property as a way to build generational wealth. Later this fall, another ECITF recommendation of $4.8 million for the development of permanently affordable homes to further root communities of color in place will be announced.
"It is wonderful to see the Office of Housing taking this much-needed step toward countering racist and discriminatory policies and investment patterns in the housing market so that BIPOC homeowners in Seattle can stay in their homes, build generational wealth, and ensure stability for their families and their broader communities,” said Denise Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Washington Homeownership Resource Center.
Building on the Office of Housing’s nearly 40-year track record of successfully stewarding the Seattle Housing Levy and other local, state, and federal funds, Mayor Durkan’s proposed approach provides the Office of Housing additional resources to continue addressing the housing crisis using a diverse set of strategies. Over the past year, the Office of Housing has pioneered innovative methods that scale up proven best practices while nimbly responding to urgent homeless housing needs and unique real estate conditions. The Office of Housing launched the 600-unit Permanent Supporting Housing (PSH) pilot in 2020 to build homes in record time, and last week announced the acquisition of three nearly-completed new-construction buildings to rapidly create 165 permanently affordable homes to serve young adults and individuals experiencing homelessness and at extreme risk of homelessness. The City plans to announce more acquisitions in the coming weeks.
“These proposed investments reflect our City’s shared values around the critical role that affordable housing plays in improving health outcomes, advancing mobility from poverty, preventing displacement, and fostering community resiliency,” said Emily Alvarado, Office of Housing Director. “These investments will help us build on what we know works to meet the urgent need for affordable housing throughout Seattle.”
With Mayor Durkan’s budget proposal, the City will continue to make significant investments in partnership with community-based organizations to address displacement pressures affecting communities of color. Since taking office, $80 million of city funding has been invested to support over 1,000 homes in affordable housing developments led by faith-based institutions and other organizations rooted in communities of color. Community development partners have included:
Mount Zion (Mount Zion Senior Housing on 19th),
First AME (Bryant Manor and Elizabeth Thomas townhomes),
Filipino Community of Seattle (Filipino Community Village),
Ethiopian Community in Seattle (Ethiopian Village),
InterIm CDA (Uncle Bob’s Place),
SCIDpda (Yesler Family Housing),
Chief Seattle Club (Sacred Medicine House and ?á?al), and
Africatown Community Land Trust (Africatown Plaza).
Coupled with the City’s community preference policy, established via executive order in 2019, new City-funded housing developments may prioritize a portion of homes for community members who have been displaced, are at risk of displacement, or who have strong ties to the neighborhood. Since 2017, Mayor Durkan and the Office of Housing have taken urgent action, leveraging every dollar of City investment. Approximately $450 million of City investment was increased to more than $1.8 billion with federal and state resources to preserve, acquire, and create 6,600 affordable homes. Over 1,100 of the affordable rental housing units funded since 2017 are now completed and in service, and 2,600 units are under construction and expected to open by 2023, with hundreds nearing completion and expected to open by the end of 2021.