Seattle voters did it again, passing a seven-year, $145 million housing levy in November.
Even at a time when many families are cutting back on their spending, voters overwhelming supported the levy, which will cost the average homeowner about $65 a year.
“We didn't take it for granted,” says Anna Markee, outreach director for the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County, a backer of the campaign.
“We knew we had to make a strong case to the voters,” she added.
The campaign focused on people, with senior citizens and single mothers sharing their stories, she said. Volunteers made 40,000 phone calls and knocked on about 4,000 doors to raise support.
The levy is expected to help produce or preserve 1,850 affordable homes and assist 3,420 households. The largest pool of funds, $104 million, will go toward rental production and preservation.
The levy received roughly 65 percent of the vote.
This is the fifth time that Seattle has passed a levy or a bond to fund affordable housing programs. The prior $86 million levy was approved in 2002 and was set to expire at the end of this year.
California Redevelopment Association fights for local funds
The funding news out of California hasn't been as good.
The California Redevelopment Association has filed a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court to stop a state budget trailer bill that authorizes $2.05 billion to be taken from local redevelopment funds for state purposes, announced the organization at the end of October.
The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the bill and seeks to prevent the raid of local redevelopment funds for other purposes.
Advocates are also working on finding a permanent source of funding for affordable housing. This move comes as funds from Proposition 1C, a $2.85 billion bond measure passed in 2006, are about to run out.
Housing advocates are pushing for a permanent funding source to eliminate the need to go to the ballot every few years.
The state Department of Housing and Community Development has held several meetings throughout the state and is analyzing possible sources such as a document recording fee on real estate transactions.
Las Palmas Foundation creates new housing
During the last 15 months, Las Palmas Foundation has created 216 apartments for low-income families in San Diego.
The latest, Los Vientos Apartments, provides 89 units in the Barrio Logan Redevelopment Project Area near downtown.
The nonprofit partnered with AMCAL Multi-Housing, Inc., on the development.
San Diego's Redevelopment Agency provided $8.3 million in financing.
The project also received an allocation of $17.6 million in low-income housing tax credits, with equity coming from Hudson Housing Capital. Financing also included $5.4 million from the California Community Reinvestment Corp.
With apartments reserved for households earning between 30 percent and 60 percent of the area median income, Los Vientos is the last of three Barrio Logan complexes that Las Palmas has completed in recent months.
New mixed-use community opens in Oakland
Resources for Community Development (RCD) recently opened Fox Courts, a mixed-use affordable housing community with 80 rental units and about 4,800 square feet of commercial space for a child-care facility and arts-oriented retail, in Oakland, Calif.
The $33.7 million development is located next to the recently restored Fox Theater.
Financing was provided by Alliant Capital, Union Bank, Oakland Housing Authority, city of Oakland, Alameda County, California Department of Housing and Community Development, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, Silicon Valley Bank, and Enterprise Green Communities.
It's been a busy year for RCD, which has opened several other communities, including Oxford Plaza in Berkeley and Shinsei Gardens in Alameda.