Creating More Affordable Housing

Creating More Affordable Housing

To address the crisis of homelessness and affordability, we must build more affordable homes as quickly as possible. The City of Seattle is committed to making robust investments in affordable housing to ensure those experiencing homelessness have permanent, safe, stable places to live. In December of 2017 Mayor Durkan announced $100 million in City funds for new Affordable Housing. You can learn more about 2017 funding for affordable homes through the Office of Housing's 2017 Annual Investments Report.

The 2016 Seattle Housing Levy provides a steady source of about $30 million per year to build new affordable multifamily rental housing. As of April 2018, there were 12,700 rent- and income-restricted affordable homes in service financed through the Office of Housing. The Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE) program provides an additional 3,800 income- and rent-restricted affordable homes. The Office of Housing has lists of resources to assist low-income families to find affordable housing that fits their budget and needs, including homes financed by the Office of Housing and other sources.

From 2018 to 2021, Seattle expects 2,500 new City-funded affordable rental housing units and over 1,900 new MFTE affordable units to come online.

Over the next four years the City of Seattle expects 2,500 new City-funded affordable rental homes and over 1,900 new MFTE affordable homes to come online.

Our strong investments in affordable housing can and must continue. This year, new investments in affordable homes are expected to total about $270 million when leveraged by other sources.

Chart: In 2018, the City of Seattle is expecting another significant investment in new affordable housing production.

Over the next four years, the City of Seattle expects 2,500 new City-funded affordable rental homes and more than 1,900 new MFTE affordable homes to come online. 

Encouraging Affordability Through Diverse Housing Options

The City of Seattle continues to invest in affordable housing units for residents making 0% - 60% of AMI. Another part of making our region more affordable for all is encouraging density and looking for opportunities to boost our region's supply of housing. Mayor Jenny directed the City of Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) to create pre-approved designs for Detached Accessory Dwelling units.  

Standardized, pre-approved plans will allow builders and residents to save time and money by streamlining the design process. This reduces costs for architectural designs and speeds up the permitting process. Lower barriers should encourage more construction. Paired with efforts to remove regulatory barriers to backyard cottages, pre-approved designs could boost housing production in coming years.  

Creating original designs for backyard cottages can cost $10,000 to $30,000. Total construction costs can reach $300,000. Fast-tracking these projects reduces design costs and permitting fees. Permitting time could be shortened by at least 50% so homeowners and builders could construct new housing more quickly.

What kinds of resources are available to people experiencing homelessness?