Seattle residents give more than lip service to affordable housing.
Voters in the city care enough to go to the polls and pass a housing levy. The last one, and fourth overall, was approved in 2002. The seven-year, $86 million package costs the average homeowner about $49 per year.
The recent levy has created more than 1,000 rental units and has helped more than 125 people buy their first homes, according to city officials. It has also provided rental assistance to more than 2,700 households.
Allocation of the funds began in 2003 and will continue until 2009. Projects funded under the program are required to remain affordable for 50 years.
A large portion of the funds, about $56 million, is earmarked for rental housing preservation and production. At least 59 percent of the program funding will be for units serving people earning no more than 30 percent of the area median income (AMI). Two-person households at that limit earn about $18,700 in Seattle. The remaining 41 percent of the rental preservation and production funds is aimed at people earning no more than 60 percent of AMI.