An Olympia sales tax increase to fund affordable housing was passing easily in early results from Tuesday’s special election.
As of the vote count released shortly after 8 p.m., the city’s Home Fund measure was passing with 62 percent of the vote.
“Tonight’s results demonstrate that Olympia is a compassionate, generous community,” said Jessica Bateman, an Olympia City Council member and co-chair of the Home Fund campaign.
The permanent sales and use tax increase of 0.1 percent is expected to generate about $2.3 million a year that would go into a dedicated fund for housing, shelters and support services.
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The money would be distributed as grants to groups wanting to build and operate apartments, shelters, and mental and behavioral health treatment programs.
Housing would go to those making 60 percent or less of the area’s median income and who fall into one of the following categories: people with mental illnesses or disabilities, veterans, seniors, domestic violence survivors, families with children, and unaccompanied homeless youth or young adults.
The city hopes to build or renovate nearly 350 units in the first decade.
In the fall, Olympia voters approved a property tax increase that will generate about $2.8 million a year for public safety, including a mobile mental health team. Officials have described the measures as related since they both deal with vulnerable people, many of whom now live on the streets.
Results for Tuesday’s election will be certified Feb. 23.