Jefferson County Home Opportunity Fund
In the Tuesday, November 7, 2017 General Election, Jefferson County voters will vote on Jefferson County Proposition 1 or “Prop 1” to approve or reject establishing the Home Opportunity Fund. If passed by a simple majority, the Home Opportunity Fund would be funded by a property tax of approximately 36 cents per thousand dollars property valuation - for 7-years only – dedicated to creating or preserving housing that would remain affordable for low-income and very low income households. As proposed, non-profit and other housing organizations would submit competitive proposals for the best projects to build or preserve affordable housing stock in Jefferson County, intended to help fill a declared shortage of affordable housing for many Jefferson County residents, such as seniors on limited income, low-wage families with young children, people with disabilities, and workers with lower wages.
Prop 1 can be approved or rejected by a simple majority vote of citizens. Here is how it looks on the ballot:
History and Factual Information for Prop-1 & Housing
On July 24, 2017, many people attended, and sixty people spoke at a Public Hearing with the Board of County Commissioners for and against a draft resolution to:
- recognize an existing emergency in the availability of affordable housing for low-income and very low-income households within Jefferson County, and
- refer to the voters a question of whether or not to establish a Home Opportunity Fund to create or preserve affordable housing for low-income and very low-income households.
A PowerPoint presentation was given at the Public Hearing, detailing information about a shortage in the availability of affordable housing in Jefferson County, as well as information about the Home Opportunity Fund that would be the subject of a vote in the November General Election.
Resolution Placing Prop 1 on the Ballot
The County Commissioners deliberated on the written and oral testimony from the Public Hearing. On July 31, the Commissioners unanimously adopted Resolution No. 35-17. In placing the ballot question before the voters, State law required that the Resolution include a declaration of an emergency in the availability of affordable housing.
Draft Financing Plan
State law also requires that if Prop 1 passes, that after November 7 and before January 1, 2018, the County Commissioners adopt a Financing Plan for how the Home Opportunity Fund will be managed by Jefferson County to award the funds to housing organizations to build and preserve affordable housing stock. Resolution No. 35-17 included a DRAFT Financing Plan so citizens could see how the Home Opportunity Fund would be administered to create and preserve affordable housing. Click here to download and read the Draft Financing Plan.
Draft Financing Plan’s Table of Contents
If citizens vote in the General Election to pass Prop 1, as required by Resolution No. 35-17 the Commissioners would hold another Public Hearing to consider public input for refining the Financing Plan to further improve how the Home Opportunity Fund would be administered to create and preserve affordable housing. A final version of the Financing Plan would be adopted after the hearing, in November or December, 2017.
Years 2018 – 2024
If Proposition 1 is approved by the voters, the first annual round of Requests For Proposals would take place in 2018, when housing organizations could submit funding applications for projects that create or preserve affordable housing stock. New rounds of RFPs would be issued each year thereafter through 2024. After the Housing Opportunity Fund Levy expires in 2024, there would be additional RFPs to allocate any Fund balance that might remain.
- Current Election – Jefferson County Auditor
- Affordable Housing – Jefferson Co. Department of Community Development
- Comprehensive Plan Update – Jefferson Co. Department of Community Development, (Chapter 5 - Housing Element)
- Washington State’s Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy