The city of Seattle is investing about $80 million to build or restore more than 1,700 units of affordable rental housing, using revenue from the city’s new JumpStart payroll tax.

Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda announced Thursday that the bulk of the tax revenue from 2021, the first year of collection, would go toward 17 new and existing affordable-housing properties.

“This revenue is filling a huge gap that previously would not have allowed for this level of projects to come online this quickly,” Mosqueda said. “This is a really big deal.”

The tax, passed by the council in 2020, requires businesses that spend at least $7 million on payroll annually to pay between 0.7% and 2.4% on salaries and wages paid to Seattle employees who make at least $150,000 per year.

In 2021, the JumpStart was estimated to bring the city $200 million, but it actually created about $231 million in new revenue.

Mosqueda described the feeling of naming funding recipients — after staving off a two-year legal challenge to the tax from the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce in the same week — as “breathless.”

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“We are on the cusp of actually seeing this hard work come into action. We have been holding our breath and waiting for this moment for so long,” Mosqueda said Thursday. “This is a huge moment today. And we will have more opportunities to celebrate in the near future.”

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of the revenue will go toward affordable and supportive housing, including about $6 million for upcoming affordable homeownership investments and about $80 million for rental housing projects.

Recipients of the funds celebrated the announcement Thursday, praising JumpStart for being accessible to less-experienced community organizations that want to build housing.

“As a community-based organization stepping up to build affordable housing that meets the needs of our community, obtaining the funds necessary to acquire land to build upon has been a challenge,” said former state Rep. Velma Veloria, who works with the Filipino Community Center.

“We are thrilled to be one of the first organizations participating in the JumpStart Community Self-Determination Fund, and we’re excited that we can now move forward to secure the land and create housing that will help root the Filipino community in place.” 

The $79.9 million rental investment will be split among 13 new rental developments and four existing projects that will be preserved as affordable housing. The projects, selected by the Office of Housing, are:

  • Chief Seattle Club’s Sacred Medicine House development will create 117 units for people experiencing homelessness, with a focus on Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
  • Chief Seattle Club’s Goldfinch Acquisition will create 63 units for individuals experiencing homelessness, with a focus on Native Americans and Alaska Native elders.
  • Low Income Housing Institute’s Dockside Acquisition will create 92 units for individuals experiencing homelessness and those with low incomes.
  • El Centro de la Raza’s Columbia City development will create 87 units for families and individuals with low incomes.
  • A New Hope Community Development Institute’s project will create 87 units for individuals experiencing homelessness and families and individuals with low incomes.
  • Community Roots Housing’s YouthCare/South Annex will create 84 units for young adults experiencing homelessness and young adults with low incomes.
  • Downtown Emergency Service Center’s Union Hotel will create 52 units for individuals experiencing homelessness.
  • Filipino Community of Seattle’s Acquisition will create 52 units for families with low incomes.
  • Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority’s North Lot project will create 154 units for families and individuals with low incomes.
  • Mount Baker Housing Association’s VIA 7 project will create 221 units for families and individuals with low incomes.
  • TAP Collaborative’s Broadway Urbaine project will create 100 units for families and individuals with low incomes.
  • Low Income Housing Institute’s MLK Mixed Use project will create 148 units for young adults experiencing homelessness and families and individuals with low incomes.
  • BRIDGE Housing’s St. Luke’s Affordable Housing project will create 86 units for families and individuals with low incomes.
  • The YWCA’s 5th & Seneca property, which provides 114 units for individuals experiencing homelessness and individuals with low incomes, will be preserved.
  • Interim CDA’s NP/Eastern Rehab property, which provides 109 units for families and individuals with low incomes, will be preserved.
  • The Low Income Housing Institute’s Jensen Block, which provides 30 units for individuals with low incomes, will be preserved.
  • Plymouth Housing’s Pacific Hotel, which provides 173 units for individuals experiencing homelessness, will be preserved.