Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) is a new program to ensure that growth brings affordability. MHA will require new development to include affordable housing on site or make a contribution to a City fund for affordable housing. To put MHA requirements into effect, zoning changes will allow additional development capacity everywhere MHA will apply: in urban villages, proposed urban village expansion areas, and all other multifamily and commercial zones.
View the map here: http://tinyurl.com/MHA-web-map.
Mayor Ed Murray sent a mayoral directive to Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) to negotiate the sale of the Civic Square project to Bosa Development and direct the proceeds to establish a new Equitable Development Fund. The sale would also net $5.7 million in funds for affordable housing, meeting or exceeding the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program requirement. Combined, nearly $22 million from this sale will go to equity and affordability projects around the City.
“Seattle is growing and we are working to ensure that it happens in a way that is equitable, benefitting everyone who lives and works here,” said Mayor Murray. “The sale of the Civic Square property allows us to leverage our resources to invest in communities most at-risk for displacement and to make a major investment in affordable housing. While we continue to revitalize our downtown core, we are strategically investing around the city to strengthen our communities for the future.”
The Equitable Development Fund will be established with the $16 million in proceeds from the sale, and used as part of the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI), which helps ensure Seattle’s existing residents and businesses also enjoy the benefits of development around the city, rather than being displaced by it. These funds will go to community-driven projects such as a cultural center for long-time residents to maintain neighborhood character or a job training program focused on good-paying jobs in the community.
SEATTLE (Oct. 17, 2016) – Today, Mayor Murray and seven Councilmembers announced two proposed changes to implementation of the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program, aimed at increasing production and addressing the ongoing displacement occurring as Seattle grows rapidly. The MHA framework is a critical tool for achieving the goal of building 20,000 affordable homes, as laid out in the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), and provides increased development capacity in combination with new mandatory housing affordability requirements. Today, the City is introducing
- A tiered approach of higher performance and payment requirements for areas – such as the U District – that are receiving a higher capacity increase than the typical one story increase proposed as part of MHA; and,
- A revised map that moves some areas at higher risk of displacement – including the Central District, Chinatown/ID and parts of the Rainier Valley – into higher performance requirements to reflect updated rent data and the City’s analysis of higher displacement risk.
These proposed changes, in conjunction with maintaining the original “Grand Bargain” framework principles across the city, including Downtown and South Lake Union, will increase projected production of new affordable homes by approximately 200-300, from the original goal of 6,000.
“While Seattle reaps many benefits from rapid growth, we have to ensure this city remains affordable for those who live and work here,” said Mayor Murray. “The voters stepped up by doubling the Housing Levy in August and today’s announcement is another step toward achieving that goal by ensuring developers are also doing their part. Requiring developers to build affordable housing or contribute to its construction helps us slow the rate of displacement caused by our city’s growth, making MHA a critical tool for ensuring our city remains affordable for everyone.”
On September 27, a joint meeting for all Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) focus groups was held at City Hall. Focus group members broke out into smaller groups to to discuss several draft zoning maps. These draft maps are based on Mandatory Housing Affordability principles. You can view the maps here.
For more information about HALA and HALA focus groups, visit: http://www.seattle.gov/hala/focus-groups. HALA focus groups will go back to their individual meetings next month.
In 2015, the Mayor challenged a Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) advisory committee to create a plan to generate a net increase of 50,000 units of housing – 20,000 units of affordable housing and 30,000 new units of market rate housing – over the next ten years. The committee developed more than 60 recommendations, recognizing that the solution to housing affordability must be a multipronged approach. Now the City is taking steps to put the HALA recommendations into action.
One of the City’s key upcoming actions is a renewal and expansion of the Seattle Housing Levy. Since 1981 the Housing Levy has helped create over 12,500 units of affordable housing for low-income households. The 2009 Seattle Housing Levy expires at the end of 2016, and Mayor Murray has proposed renewing and expanding the levy to provide $290 million over seven years for affordable housing. Voters will have a chance to renew the Housing Levy on the ballot in August. The first public hearing about the Housing Levy before City Council is April 4 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.