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Mayor Bruce Harrell Announces Proposal for $970 Million Housing Levy to Address Seattle’s Growing Affordable Housing Needs 

Levy will fund critical investments toward 3000 new units of affordable housing, workforce stabilization, and other tools to address housing and homelessness crises.

Seattle (March 30, 2023) – Speaking to a gathering of over 800 affordable housing developers, operators, funders, and community partners from across King County, Mayor Bruce Harrell announced his proposal for a $970 million Housing Levy that, if passed by Seattle City Council, could go to voters for approval in November 2023. Mayor Harrell delivered remarks at the Housing Development Consortium’s 35th Annual Celebration, held at the Seattle Convention Center.

In addition to supporting the development of over 3,000 units of new affordable housing throughout the city, the Mayor’s Housing Levy proposal would make first-of-its-kind investments to stabilize wages for workers who provide critical services to the lowest-income residents with the greatest supportive service needs. The proposal would also do more than any prior levy to support the operations and maintenance necessary to keep City-funded affordable housing running safely and sustainably in the long-term.

“The Housing Levy is a proven solution for delivering thousands of affordable housing options,” said Mayor Harrell. “Rooted in our One Seattle values that everyone should have a safe place to call home, this plan invests to meet the scale of the housing crisis, doing more than ever to prevent homelessness.”

READ: Mayor Harrell’s Full Remarks as Prepared

WATCH: Mayor Harrell announces housing levy proposal

The Housing Levy is a seven-year property tax, last approved by voters in 2016, that helps build affordable housing, keeps low-income families in their homes, and provides emergency assistance to move those experiencing homelessness into housing. Since 1986, Seattle residents have supported the Housing Levy as a proven solution to address the city’s housing needs, with every single levy meeting or exceeding its goals.

Today, an estimated over 16,000 people are living in homes funded by the Housing Levy. With the current Housing Levy set to expire at the end of 2023, Mayor Harrell’s proposal would renew and significantly expand this critical tool. The proposal would create over 3,000 new rental and for-sale homes affordable to low-income residents, including seniors, low-wage workers, families with children, and people experiencing homelessness. The levy will also continue critical rental assistance programs, a proven way to prevent homelessness and housing insecurity, and other longstanding housing levy priorities that have made a difference for thousands of Seattle families.

An important addition to this levy proposal is the heightened investments in maintenance of existing housing, operations of supportive housing, and the staffing infrastructure critical to helping people restore their lives.

The Mayor’s proposal was informed by 11 months of community and stakeholder engagement conducted by the Office of Housing from February 2022 to January 2023. This proposal development process included the convening of a 20-member Technical Advisory Committee comprised of subject matter experts, including private and non-profit housing developers and service providers, regional and statewide public agencies that address housing and homelessness, and representatives for workers in affordable housing.

In February, Council President Debora Juarez established the Select Committee on the 2023 Housing Levy, which will review current and future housing needs; consider the Mayor’s proposal, including the size and scope of the Levy; and deliberate and make a final decision on whether to send a Levy proposal to the ballot for consideration by Seattle voters. Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda will serve as chair and Councilmember Lisa Herbold will serve as vice-chair of this Select Committee. The proposed Select Committee meeting dates and times can be viewed at

To help keep community members up to date on the ongoing work of the Office of Housing, as well as Mayor Harrell’s proposal to renew the Housing Levy in 2023, Office of Housing staff provide regular presentations to community groups throughout the city. If your community organization would like to receive a presentation from the Office of Housing, please reach out to

For more information about the Housing Levy, please visit

Mayor Harrell’s 2023 Housing Levy Proposal

Total amount: $970 million over 7 years (2024-2030)

Rental Housing Production & Preservation: $707 million
Creates and preserves affordable rental housing, including Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), for seniors, people exiting homelessness, working families with children, people with disabilities, and other low-income households.

Operating, Maintenance, and Services (OMS): $122 million

Ensures safe, sustainable operations at in Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) and creates a new wage stabilization fund for workers in PSH buildings.

Homeownership: $51 million

Creates new permanently affordable for-sale homes, provides down-payment assistance for low-income homebuyers, and stabilizes low-income homeowners through emergency home repair grants and foreclosure prevention assistance.

Prevention & Housing Stabilization: $30 million

Provides short-term rent assistance and housing stability services to help low-income households avoid eviction or homelessness.

Program Administration: $60 million

Ensures continuous and effective administration of all Housing Levy-funded programs by covering costs associated with project selection and contracting, development underwriting, construction monitoring, project performance and compliance, fiscal management, program policies and reporting.

Tax rate: $0.45/$1,000 assessed value

Cost to median Seattle homeowners: $383/year or $31.92/month (based on assessed value of $855,136)


Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, Chair of the Council Select Committee on the Housing Levy

“This Housing Levy renewal package is an investment in the health and resilience of our entire community. It’s an investment in the workers who lay the foundation for these homes, the providers of critical housing support services for our most vulnerable neighbors, the community organizations that transform these new homes into community and cultural hubs, as well as the families, seniors, and individuals who find stability and sanctuary in these new places to live. This levy will make our whole city stronger.

“As Chair of the Council’s Select Committee on the Housing Levy, I’m committed to working in partnership with the Council, the Mayor’s Office, and the broad coalition of labor, business, housing, and community organizations behind this Levy to put forth a robust package that builds on the success of our previous affordable housing investments and reflects the critical housing needs of our city in this moment.”

Maiko Winkler-Chin, Director of the Seattle Office of Housing

“Affordable housing is the foundation for individual and community health, safety, and resilience,” said Maiko Winkler-Chin, Director of the Office of Housing. “For nearly four decades, thanks to Seattle voters, the Housing Levy has enabled the Office of Housing and its partners to consistently deliver affordable housing options throughout the city, but we know there is much more to be done. We need to grow our affordable housing investments to meet the growing needs of our community, and the Mayor’s proposal will help us do that.”

Patience Malaba, Executive Director of the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County (HDC)

“The Mayor’s Housing Levy proposal is truly a generational investment in homes for people in our community and in the people who turn buildings into homes. The Housing Development Consortium and its members commend the Office of Housing and the Mayor’s Office for the collaborative process to develop this proposal, and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership with City Council to get the best proposal possible in front of voters.”

Daniel Malone, Executive Director of DESC

“For many people with long histories of homelessness and behavioral health conditions, Permanent Supportive Housing is the proven solution for exiting homelessness and leading healthier and more stable lives. The Seattle Housing Levy has a long track record of producing quality Permanent Supportive Housing units for people who need them the most and who would not have other housing opportunities.

“The Mayor’s Housing Levy proposal will ensure that the thousands of homes the Housing Levy has produced so far, and the thousands that are to be built with new funds, will continue to be well maintained, and that the neighbors we’ve helped out of homelessness will continue to have high quality support staff available to them.”