Feb 16, 2023 - Politics

Social housing measure I-135 leading in Seattle

Illustration of a hand placing a ballot in a ballot box surrounded by abstract shapes.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

So far, Seattle voters are approving Initiative 135, which would create a new entity to build public affordable housing in Seattle.

  • The measure's lead grew after a second day of vote counting, with about 54% favoring the measure as of Wednesday.

Details: I-135 would create a new social housing developer — a public development authority that would manage housing units where rent is capped at 30% of a tenant's income.

  • The units would be publicly owned and available to people making between zero and 120% of the area median income. The area median income in Seattle last year was $120,907 for a family of four.
  • The measure itself doesn't raise taxes or mandate a multimillion-dollar investment from the city.

Yes, but: I-135's supporters hope to get government funding in the future to help jumpstart the building and acquisition of affordable units.

Critics argued that the new public development authority would compete with other affordable housing providers, and potentially homeless service programs, for limited public dollars.

What we're watching: An estimated 38,500 ballots remain to be counted citywide in the vote-by-mail election, according to King County Elections.

  • Supporters of I-135 told Axios Wednesday that they are confident the measure's lead will hold.
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