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Seattle to spend $75M to boost affordable housing next year

December 18, 2018
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Senior housing resident Marjorie Portin, center, looks on with other seniors during a news conference announcing that Seattle will invest more than $75 million on affordable-housing units in the next year. Mayor Jenny Durkan says the investment puts the city on target to make available nearly 4,000 new homes by 2022. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said Monday that the city will spend more than $75 million on affordable-housing units in the next year.

The city will build 10 new buildings with nearly 1,200 apartments and will preserve nine buildings that have 238 affordable apartments.

“We need affordable housing in every part of this city,” Durkan said in remarks at a Northgate building that caters to low-income seniors.

The investment puts the city on target to make available nearly 4,000 new homes by 2022, she said.

The money will largely come from property taxes and real-estate payments which will go to help nonprofits build and preserve the homes, The Seattle Times reported .

Each summer, nonprofits request money from the city’s Office of Housing and the office selects projects for assistance.

This year, 14 housing projects were chosen.

One project involves the Chief Seattle Club, which will receive several million dollars to help build 75 studio apartments in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, with a focus on serving Native American people.

The apartments will be next to the club’s headquarters and will include both a clinic run with the Seattle Indian Health Board and a gallery where Native American artists will display and sell their work, said Colleen Echohawk, the club’s executive director.

The apartments will house individuals making no more than $35,100, with rents under $600 per month. Regionally, one in every 35 Native American people is homeless, according to Echohawk.

“We’ll be able to offer culturally appropriate services,” she said.

Seattle set a record last December by allocating nearly $100 million to housing projects. Though the latest investment is smaller, a record number of new apartments will be built, according to the city. Last year’s allocation went to help developers build nearly 900 apartments and preserve over 500 homes.

Seattle distributes money for the projects from various sources, including the city’s housing levy and the federal government.

Mandatory and voluntary payments by real-estate developers also are used. This year’s investment includes community-benefit funds from the Washington State Convention Center expansion.

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