The year 2009 is an unusually busy campaign season for an “off-election” year. And in the midst of some very important local races, voters may overlook a critical Seattle ballot measure, Proposition 1 to renew the housing levy.
If Seattle’s Housing Levy is not renewed this November, low- and moderate-income families as well as the homeless will have literally thousands of fewer affordable housing choices in the coming years. That’s because Proposition 1 would provide $145 million over seven years for housing needs, including both housing production and operating subsidies. This is important not merely because it meets the housing needs of our growing population, but because stable housing is the cornerstone of stable communities.
For 28 years, Seattle voters have generously supported a housing levy because we recognize that access to safe, healthy, good quality housing is out of reach for the most vulnerable members of our society: homeless families, seniors on limited incomes, and young families struggling to keep up with rising housing prices. Without a safe home, individuals have a difficult time being productive members of our community.
In the Chinatown/International District, the Seattle Housing Levy has helped produce over 276 apartments in four affordable housing projects, and leveraged over $60 million of investments. Our Asian Pacific Islander community is growing particularly fast in Southeast Seattle, which is balancing new development stemming from the link light rail system with the need for affordable housing. These needs will not be met unless we vote YES for HOMES and support Prop 1.
The cost of the levy to individual property owners will be about $65 per year. The benefit to our community, however, will be exponentially greater. The Housing Levy will support new projects that provide homes, build safe areas in developments for kids to play, and ensure safe, stable, affordable housing in neighborhoods where we live and work.
Please stand with us and vote YES for HOMES, Yes to Prop 1.