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Opinion >  Letters

City of Spokane affordable housing sales tax option

For over 50 years SNAP has served our community and watched as a shortage of affordable housing has negatively impacted our community. Housing is one of the most important avenues to stability in life. A home empowers people to find work, access physical and mental health care, get an education and build skills, and engage in civic life.

Over the past 30 years, state and federal funding for low-income housing has steadily declined, and Spokane has only had rare, short-term chances to dedicate local funds for affordable housing. But, in 2020, the State legislature passed HB1590, opening the door for cities and counties to raise local sales taxes and create a durable funding source dedicated to affordable housing. While regressive in nature, this sales tax increase could mean the difference between having a roof over your head during a pandemic or being homeless.

SNAP supports the passage of HB 1590 that would raise the local sales tax by .1% to fund new low-income housing units with onsite social services. HB1590 would raise between $5 and $6 million annually for affordable housing. The City of Spokane was a leader in advocating for the passage of HB1590 in the State legislature. Now, we need the City Council to act on this opportunity and our Mayor to take advantage of this bill and fund housing for Spokane’s most vulnerable community members.

Reverse the trend of housing disinvestment, prioritizing our vulnerable working poor and aging populations, and move Spokane toward a more racially and socioeconomically equitable future.

Julie Honekamp, CEO, SNAP



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