Affordable, safe, secure housing is vital to the health of Jefferson County.

affordable

Despite all our work, our countywide housing shortage has become a crisis. The need continues to grow. Rents are soaring. Jobs go unfilled. There are over 100 homeless children in Jefferson County.

We must do better. Families with children, working people, and our vulnerable neighbors should have access to safe, stable, affordable housing.

When the voters approve Proposition 1 we can create the Jefferson County Home Opportunity Fund. This fund will give grants and loans to organizations that can build and preserve housing throughout Jefferson County, housing that will remain affordable to low- and very low-income households for forty years or more.

Prop 1 is a seven-year limited-term property tax levy in 2018-2024, set at 36 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation in 2018. A homeowner with a property assessed at $300,000 would owe an additional $108 a year or $9 a month. The measure will raise a total of $13-$13.9 million over seven years, all of it dedicated to creating and preserving affordable housing. You can read exactly what the measure says here.

It works for Bellingham and it can work here! Over the last five years, Bellingham has collected $12 million in revenue and received commitments of over $63 million in matching grants and other funding. They’ve built a lot of housing. Vancouver, Washington passed a measure in 2016, and their program is off to great start!

This is the power of leveraging, and Jefferson County has been missing out. With Prop 1, our organizations will be able to compete for the outside funding we need.