There's an important levy on the ballot August 1st in King county. Proposition 1 - The Veteran, Senior and Human Services Levy (VSHSL)- is critical for funding veteran, senior, and other much needed programs throughout King County. This week the King County Council unanimously sent a renewal of this levy to the August ballot, asking voters to renew at the current rate .
The King County Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy has been approved by King County voters three times: in 2005, 2011, and most recently in 2017. Each of these levies has been for a six-year period. The current 2017 Levy expires at the end of this year. (See an overview here.)
So, what exactly does this levy money support? Since its inception in 2005, the levy has been a lifeline for various nonprofit and government initiatives. It focuses on critical areas such as housing, gun-violence intervention, domestic violence, and homelessness, among others. The funds have made a huge difference across King county, including:
- Serving over 27,000 veterans, service-members, and their families, providing support with fewer eligibility barriers compared to many federal programs.
- Reducing veteran homelessness by 40%
- Funding 39 senior centers throughout the county and serving more than 100,000 seniors through expanded senior programming
- Helping to construct over 1,000 units of affordable housing and adding 198 new shelter beds for individuals and families experiencing homelessness
Now, let's talk about how the levy will affect homeowners. If you own a median-priced home in King County (which currently stands at $819,000), you can expect to pay 10 cents per $1,000 in assessed value, with projected property value increases that's about $83 per year. This brings the total annual payment to $17 higher than the existing levy.
Initially the amount was requested to be 12 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, but after hearing from mayors and councils of many small towns, it failed to pass the King County Council, over fears the public would vote no. The current proposed rate, the same as it was in 2018, will only support half as many units of new affordable housing construction and 45% fewer existing units of affordable housing due to the increased costs of doing business. But that is a vital lifeline to many programs that are important to out veterans and seniors.
So don't forget to vote August 1st! By renewing the levy, we can continue to support these essential services and make a lasting difference in our community. Help sustain these vital programs for our veterans, seniors, and the most vulnerable in King County.