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Council grants authority to invest millions for affordable housing

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

A unanimous vote of the King County Council Aug. 28, gave a ringing endorsement on legislation that allows King County to access $100 million in funding for affordable housing over the next two decades.

According to a King County Council press release the legislation takes advantage of new authorization granted by the state legislature this year to receive a portion of the state’s sales and use tax for construction, operations and maintenance of new affordable housing serving persons with income at or below 60 percent area median income (AMI).

The allocation of the funds will not bring about an increase in the sales tax to consumers.

Cities around the region are expected to take action to implement this new authority. Preliminary estimates indicate that combined the jurisdictions in King County will be able to invest over $200 million in affordable housing, permanent supportive housing, and rental assistance over the next 20 years, the release reads.

Last year the Regional Affordable Housing Task Force (RAHTF) determined 244,000 new units of housing are needed in King County by 2040 to address the affordable housing crisis.

“With a need so great, it’s imperative that all levels of government work together to leverage this new funding into more affordable homes,” said Budget chair and legislation sponsor Claudia Balducci. “I want to thank King County cities, notably the City of Seattle, who have partnered with us to ensure we can maximize the impact of this significant investment for homes over the next 20 years.”

Marty Kooistra, Executive Director of the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County, gave legislators kudos for their innovative approach to the affordable housing issue.

"Solving our area's unprecedented housing crisis requires a series of smart, bold steps,” said Marty Kooistra, Executive Director of the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County. “The state legislature responded by creating a unique revenue pathway for cities and counties at a time when new options are very limited. And now the leadership of King County has stepped up with this critical decision to enact the ordinances necessary to retain a portion of state sales tax for the production and preservation of affordable housing. The social and economic benefits of this decision will be felt by families and entire communities in King County.”

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