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Proposal: Use $11 million from property sale to address homeless crisis

Mayor Jenny Durkan introduced legislation yesterday

South Lake Union.
Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

Two of now-Mayor Jenny Durkan’s major campaign promises were building 1,000 tiny homes for people experiencing homelessness—building off already successful programs—and ramping up rental assistance programs. In legislation introduced Wednesday, Durkan intends to make progress on both.

Durkan proposes using $11 million from the sale of a city-owned property in South Lake Union on various programs to address housing instability in Seattle, notably “bridge housing” for those currently without housing and funding her executive order to create a rental assistance pilot program.

In the proposal, called “Building a Bridge to Housing for All,” the Mayor’s office details a “one-time investment” to fund affordable housing and shelter options, plus some city services. In addition to the money from the property sale, the proposal includes a mandatory housing affordability (MHA) payment of more than $7 million, with $2 million upfront.

About $5.5 million would go toward getting shelter to people currently experiencing homeless, starting with a project focusing on chronically homeless women this spring.

Another $2 million would go toward the rental assistance pilot, which aims to help families that would otherwise be stuck on the Seattle Housing Authority waiting list. That project targets families making 30 to 50 percent area median income, which depends on family size—but for a single person, that’s $20,200 to $33,600 per year, or $28,800 to $48,000 for a family of four.

$3.5 million would go toward city services, including relocating the communications shop formerly housed in the building and planning a new Seattle Fire Department facility.

The sale of the property, located at 1933 Minor Avenue, is expected to close this summer.

Legislation will be sent to city council for approval, but with the proposal co-sponsored by four out of nine City Councilors, it seems likely to pass.