The public is invited to participate in a Sept. 8 meeting at 10 a.m. in the Deer Harbor Community Club. “Yes for Homes,” a county-wide grassroots campaign supporting a ballot initiative in November to create a new Home Fund has organized this meeting.
The campaign has invited San Juan County Affordable Housing Coordinator Ryan Page to present information about how the fund works and how the funds would be used. Members of the Yes for Homes campaign will be available to answer other questions that may arise.
A few years ago the county council tasked a workgroup with developing a strategic action plan to address the growing housing needs on the islands. That group was made up of stakeholders ranging from housing non-profits to business owners to county staff. One key they found to the solution was to create a dedicated local funding source.
After the council adopted the strategic action plan, they tasked the Housing Bank Commission with developing a recommended local funding source. After months of deliberation, that commission recommended the creation of a county Home Fund, funded by a 0.5 percent Real Estate Excise Tax, along with an Administrative and Financial Plan for how those tax dollars are to be spent.
On May 22, the council voted to move the recommendation of the HBC forward to a vote of the people in November of 2018. Home Fund revenue will come from a one-time tax paid at the time of a real estate sale. This is not an ongoing property tax. These funds will serve very-low, low and moderate-income households and those with special needs. The REET is the only source of funds available after a vote of the people that has the flexibility to serve moderate-income households.