I support the HOMES tax for housing and homelessness

The Housing For All Coalition is calling for a massively stepped-up response to the homelessness and housing crises. In response, City Councilmembers Mike O’Brien, Kirsten Harris-Talley, and Kshama Sawant have proposed a tax on Seattle’s largest businesses to raise over $20 million per year in new revenue to tackle these twin crises. The plan is called H.O.M.E.S. – housing, outreach, and mass-entry shelter. (Details of proposal below.)

Although this is still not nearly enough to create all the housing and shelter that’s needed, it is a solid start. And it’s past time. Nearly two years into an officially-declared Homelessness State of Emergency, the City has yet to act like we’re in an emergency. It’s time for all hands on deck, and that means everyone, including large businesses that are benefiting from Seattle’s booming economy while so many of us are left behind.

Now business groups are mobilizing to oppose the H.O.M.E.S. plan. We can’t let them succeed – far too much is at stake. We need to stand strong and win all nine councilmembers over to supporting this important measure. Please take a moment to send an email to the city council, and share with your friends. Help us to generate a flood of emails to councilmembers showing them that Seattle residents want them to respond to the homelessness crisis with the energy and seriousness it deserves!

H.O.M.E.S. Tax Proposal

H.O.M.E.S stands for Housing, Outreach, and Mass-Entry Shelter.

  • The tax would apply only to businesses with gross revenue in excess of $5 million per year. 90% of Seattle businesses would not be affected at all.
  • The tax amount is figured on the number of full-time-equivalent employees. O'Brien and Harris-Talley have proposed $100 per FTE per year, Sawant has proposed $200.
  • At $100 per FTE per year, this tax is expected to generate around $25 million per year in new revenue. At $200 per FTE per year, it would generate around $50 million.

Councilmembers O'Brien and Harris-Talley have proposed the following uses of the revenue:

  • $18 million for housing, through a combination of building new low-income housing and providing long-term housing vouchers.
  • $7 million to expand 24-hour shelter options such as Navigation Centers and tiny house villages; provide better services and parking options for people living in vehicles; and expand the successful LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) program.

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