A team of citizens worked for 18 months to develop a plan for funding new affordable housing in our area. The plan is based upon demonstrated successes in Bellingham, Seattle, and across the country.
The Home Fund proposes a modest property tax that would, over seven years, bring more than 500 units of affordable housing online in our region. This would add desperately needed affordable housing for low-income wage earners.
The measure would also provide rental vouchers and supportive services for low-income families. The fund would mix tax dollars and private dollars to develop units, and nearly all of it would be funneled into the local construction industry. Everybody benefits under this measure.
The mayors of Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater have decided that this issue is not enough of a crisis to place the measure on the 2016 ballot. Measures like this, though proven over and over, are slow corrections to a broken system, and delaying their implementation to another year is a denial of the seriousness of the problem.
The mayors’ choice illustrates a huge vacuum of leadership, and places paternalistic electoral strategizing above the most fundamental needs of tens of thousands of households.
We simply cannot push this solution to another year. I urge the citizens of Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater to contact their city councils and demand that the people be given the opportunity to make this critical choice themselves.