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Upthegrove proposes $87 million investment in affordable housing projects in King County

Summary

Budget Committee sends legislation to full Council

Story

A plan to invest $87 million in affordable housing projects near transit stations over the next five years was approved today by the Metropolitan King County Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee.

“We are facing a housing affordability crisis in King County,” said Budget Committee Chair Dave Upthegrove. “These funds will help low and middle-income families connect to transit, jobs, and education opportunities in homes they can afford.”

Upthegrove’s proposal will generate approximately $87 million by selling bonds supported by lodging tax revenue that must be spent on affordable housing under state law.

“Stable, affordable housing is a critical need that is just out of reach for so many, and everyone deserves a safe, affordable roof over their heads,” said Councilmember Claudia Balducci. “At the same time, research has shown that providing reliable access to transit is one of the best things we can do to help people rise out of poverty. I sponsored this motion to ensure families are able to grown up in communities, including the Bel-Red Corridor in my district, where they have access to opportunities like a quality education, stable housing, and, especially, to reliable transit service.”

Approximately $32.3 million will be distributed throughout the County through a competitive procurement process. Projects must be located within one-half mile of transit stations. Preference will be given to proposals serving low-income households or other vulnerable populations such as survivors of domestic violence, veterans, and people with developmental disabilities.

The remainder of the funds will be focused on specific high-capacity transit areas that include the Northgate Transit Center, Des Moines Link Light Rail Station, S. 272nd Light Rail Station in Federal Way, Bel-Red Corridor transit stations, I-90 corridor from Issaquah to North Bend, and South Seattle stations.

“I strongly desire that money from this bond allocation program go to affordable housing at the Othello station and other projects along the existing light rail line,” said County Council Chair Joe McDermott. “Link Light Rail through the Rainier Valley has not yet produced the type of community development that was promised from light rail development. Housing development, especially affordable housing, has been slow and displacement has happened. This effort here at the County can help deliver on the promise of light rail.”

This plan represents an expansion of the previous plan issued by County Executive Dow Constantine and invests an additional $39 million towards housing projects.

The legislation will be reviewed by the full Council later this summer.
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