Affordable-housing tax, micro-house village approved by Pierce County Council
Two of the most significant initiatives that will positively impact affordable housing and homelessness in Pierce County were both passed by the Pierce County Council on March 21. After a packed, hours-long public hearing, the Pierce County Council approved an ordinance levying an additional 1/10 of 1% sales tax to fund housing and related services. The new tax means that just an additional penny will be collected on every $10 purchase, but it is expected to bring in more than $20 million in new revenue annually. Half of this new funding will support housing projects serving residents whose income is between 30% and 60% of the area median income. Thirty percent of the new funding will support projects serving residents whose income is at or below 30% of the area’s median income, and 20% of the new funds will go to housing-related services and behavioral health treatment facilities and related programs.
Then after three more hours of discussion and public hearings at that same meeting, the County Council also approved a zoning ordinance and funding for a 285-unit micro-home village for people experiencing chronic homelessness on an 86-acre site just west of Spanaway. The project will be modeled after the Community First! Village in Austin, Texas, and owned and operated by Tacoma Rescue Mission. It will provide on-site work, health care, treatment, case management and security to residents. The village will focus on serving older adults who have experienced long-term chronic homelessness. The site’s master plan includes an organic farm, farmer’s market, visitor’s center, behavioral health clinic, resident volunteer living quarters and village commons. Its 285 small living units will have communal kitchens, showers and laundry buildings, and are designed for those requiring permanent supportive housing. Construction is planned to be completed in fall 2028. The passage of these two ordinances provides a life-changing investment into the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors, and represents bold leadership by our County Councilmembers.
You can also read Matt Driscoll’s Opinion article in the TNT: