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Sunday, September 24, 2023
Sept. 24, 2023

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Vancouver to ask voters to renew Affordable Housing Fund

Levy aims to collect $10 million annually for 10 years

By , Columbian staff writer

The city of Vancouver will ask voters in 2023 to renew the Affordable Housing Fund, its largest community resource addressing low-income housing, before it expires that same year.

On Monday, the Vancouver City Council unanimously voted to approve a resolution that will craft a ballot measure for the fund’s replacement. If approved in the Feb. 14 special election, the levy would collect about 30 cents per $1,000 of assessed value of homes beginning in 2024 — raising about $10 million annually for 10 years.

This levy would create 2,400 housing units, supply rental assistance to 2,500 homes and fund 550 shelter beds, which would be dedicated to people with low incomes, according to a staff report.

At a previous city council meeting, an advisory committee shared community concerns, which revolved around inflation, growing interest rates that increase borrowing costs and other tax measures.

Vancouver’s Affordable Housing Fund reflects the city’s growing need to address its grim affordable-housing stock.

An average of 1,600 single- and multifamily units are created in Vancouver every year, but these production rates aren’t sustainable for the city’s growth, according to previous reporting from The Columbian.

The city would need to introduce 2,500 new units per year to close its housing disparity within 10 years, including 750 affordable-housing units for households earning 80 percent or less of area median income.

The current levy, approved in 2016, collected $42 million over seven years, or about $6 million annually. In its first five years, the Affordable Housing Fund aided the production of 501 affordable-housing units and the preservation of 321 units, and it provided housing assistance to 1,144 households.

For more information about the current Affordable Housing Fund levy, visit the city of Vancouver’s website to read the report.