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Mayor Bruce Harrell Signs Legislation Sending 2023 Housing Levy to Seattle Voters 

Levy will create over 3,100 new affordable homes, stabilize supportive housing workforce, and fund other tools to prevent homelessness and ensure housing stability for more than 9,000 low-income households 

Seattle – Immediately following a unanimous vote by Seattle City Council to approve the proposed 2023 Housing Levy, Mayor Bruce Harrell signed into law the legislation that will place the levy on Seattle voters’ ballots on November 7, 2023. 

If approved by voters, the $970 million Housing Levy will support the development of over 3,100 units of new affordable housing throughout the city, including both rental and homeownership opportunities. In total, the 2023 Housing Levy is expected to serve more than 9,000 low-income individuals and families by building diverse options for affordable housing throughout Seattle and providing direct assistance to prevent homelessness. 

“Our city’s affordable housing crisis demands bold, effective, and proven solutions that meet the moment and drive real progress through new units and support to keep people in their homes,” said Mayor Harrell. “Rooted in our One Seattle values and building on the strong outcomes of previous housing levies, we developed a proposal to send to the voters that responds to the scale and urgency of our housing needs by investing in safe and affordable housing, direct assistance for those at risk of homelessness, and a stronger foundation for healthy and resilient communities.” 

Responding to challenges maintaining a critically needed workforce, proposed investments will stabilize wages for workers who provide essential services to the lowest-income residents with the greatest supportive service needs – a first in the nearly forty-year history of the Housing Levy. The levy 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. 

Reflecting City Council enhancements to the Mayor’s 2023 Housing Levy proposal, the signed legislation will encourage the development of family-size apartments and for-sale homes to provide options for diverse households, provide support for non-profit community-based organizations to develop affordable housing that reflects the specific needs of their communities, promote the development of housing that incorporates a mix of uses such as childcare, small business opportunities, and cultural spaces, and enhance reporting in new investment areas, including workforce stabilization and resident services. 

“Today’s passage of the Housing Levy renewal legislation is the culmination of over a year’s worth of deep stakeholder engagement and policy development by the executive and the Office of Housing in partnership with the Technical Advisory committee, and over two months of deliberation and fine-tuning at Council, to create a package that will build on the success of past levies and respond to Seattle’s affordable housing needs in this moment,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, Chair of the Council Select Committee on the Housing Levy. “This historic package will work in concert with JumpStart funds to invest in supportive housing for our most vulnerable neighbors, create family-sized homes, significantly expand our first-time affordable homeownership opportunities, and support communities most at risk of displacement. This is an investment in the health, resilience, and stability of our entire community—and I’m thrilled to send this proposal to the ballot for consideration by Seattle voters!” 

Background on the Seattle Housing Levy 

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 voted to approve the Housing Levy five times, recognizing it as a proven solution to address the city’s housing needs, with every single levy meeting or exceeding its goals. Today, more than 16,000 people are estimated to live in homes funded by the Housing Levy. Levy-funded homes are required to remain affordable for at least 50 years, thus serving multiple generations of Seattle residents. 

With the current Housing Levy set to expire at the end of this year, the 2023 Housing Levy would renew and significantly expand this critical tool. In recognition of the growing need for affordable housing options in Seattle, the 2023 Housing Levy’s goal for producing new affordable housing is nearly 35% greater than that of the 2016 Housing Levy. If approved by voters, the 2023 Housing Levy would create over 3,100 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 would also continue to fund short-term rental assistance and other direct services to help low-income households avoid homelessness or housing instability. 

2023 Seattle Housing Levy Programs and Goals 

  Rental Housing Production & Preservation: $707 million 


  • Produce and preserve 3,516 affordable apartments 

 Program description: 

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 


  • Support operations for 510 new homes 
  • Stabilize workers supporting 646 existing homes 

Program description:

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 


  • Create 277 new homeownership opportunities 
  • Stabilize 90 low-income homeowners 

Program description: 

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  


  • Stabilize and prevent 4,500 households from experiencing homelessness 

Program description: 

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

Acquisition and Preservation: Up to $30 million 

No additional funding; loans will be made with Levy funds not yet needed for other Levy programs. 

Program description: 

Provides short-term acquisition loans for cost-effective purchases of buildings or land for rental or homeownership development. 

Program Administration: $60 million 

Program description: 

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. 

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

For more information about the Housing Levy, please visit


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

“The Housing Development Consortium stands in strong support of the proposed ordinance of the Housing Levy at $970 million. This is truly a generational investment in affordable homes, in our community, and in the workers who turn buildings into homes. Past levies have created over 12,000 affordable homes, kept families in their homes, and provided critical services to move people experiencing homelessness into housing. This year’s renewal of the Housing Levy will build on this record of success, rising to meet the moment. It will continue to give tens of thousands of people from all walks of life a fighting chance to find an affordable home in Seattle.” 

Miguel Maestas, Associate Director of El Centro de la Raza  
“Affordable housing is a cornerstone for our most vulnerable people and is critical to improving physical and mental health, and employment and economic opportunity. The Housing Levy provides hope that lower income and working families, and their children, do have a future in Seattle.” 

Naomi Morris, RN, with DESC 
“My coworkers and I at DESC help house and keep housed people who have been chronically homeless in our community by providing them the support they need. We don’t do this work to get rich. We do this work to help people. My coworkers at DESC will be supported by this Housing Levy, and the time is definitely now. If we can afford to live here, commute from here, make a life with our families here, we will be this City’s greatest support in tackling homelessness.” 

People applaud after Mayor Harrell signs the legislation