Homes for the holidays
Mayor Jenny Durkan announced a new $75 million investment in affordable housing on Monday that would build or preserve an estimated 1,400 affordable homes.
The Mayor’s Office touted it as the largest single-year increase in affordable housing in Seattle’s history.
The money will be used to leverage other investments from public and private sources for a total of $375 million to pay for the units. Approximately 1,197 will be new units produced in 10 buildings. The remaining 238 units are expected to be preserved and are spread out across nine buildings.
There are also plans to invest up to $10 million to create roughly 200 affordable units at the Northgate transit site.
“With this investment, we are poised to deliver the largest number of new affordable homes ever in one year in Seattle,” Durkan said in a release. “And together with funds I announced last year we will move forward with over $680 million in new affordable homes.”
The increase is necessary in a city suffering from a severe lack of affordable housing and increasing rents, which contribute to the homelessness crisis. According to recent numbers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Seattle’s homeless population has ticked upward far faster than the national average.
Tech companies pay up
Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that Google and Facebook will pay a total of $455,000 in fines for failing to produce the legally required information about political advertising since 2013. Ferguson looked into the matter after Eli Sanders, associate editor of The Stranger, reported on the companies’ refusal to provide him information he requested in accordance with the law.
After Ferguson filed the lawsuit in June, Google stopped selling political ads in Washington state and local elections.
According to the Public Disclosure Commission, Washington candidates reported $5.1 million in payments to Facebook and $1.5 million to Google in the past decade.
Shake up at City Hall
Mayor Jenny Durkan announced last week that she would nominate two men to head up the Human Services Department (HSD) and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). Both positions will require approval from the City Council.
At HSD, Durkan elevated Jason Johnson, formerly the assistant director and now the interim director of the department. At SDOT, Durkan looked farther afield, ultimately nominating Sam Zimbabwe who is currently a transportation planner in Washington, D.C.
Both positions come with daunting challenges. HSD helps coordinate the city’s response to the homelessness crisis. SDOT will be trying to respond to crushing traffic issues and stalled projects like the First Avenue streetcar.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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