From the Kitsap Sun:
Bremerton officials are looking to take advantage of a new state law that allows cities to levy a sales tax to fund affordable housing efforts.
The law, passed this year, allows cities and counties to implement a local sales tax to fund affordable housing projects. The local sales tax is credited against the state sales tax collected from that area – meaning residents won’t experience an increase in costs.
Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler is pursuing the sales tax to boost two experimental affordable housing programs started last year. The programs — which were funded to the tune of $200,000 in the city’s 2019 budget — provide rental assistance to individuals on the verge of losing housing and can also pay for weatherization upgrades to help lower energy bills.
If approved, Wheeler wants to use the affordable housing tax revenue to pump up the city’s existing two programs instead of purchasing new land or units of affordable housing.
Purchasing land or building new units of affordable housing is “extremely expensive,” Wheeler said. The city’s rental assistance and weatherization programs are aimed at keeping people housed before they get to that point.
“With the extra money, we 're going to keep more people sheltered from day one,” Wheeler said.
The two programs focus on weatherization and rental assistance and are administered through the Bremerton Housing Authority and Kitsap Community Resources.
BHA’s city-funded rental assistance program targets individuals making between 30 and 50 percent of the city’s median income. The $100,000 fund can be used to cover a resident’s first and last month’s rent plus security deposit; stop an eviction due to missed payment; or pay a monthly rent subsidy.
Read the Kitsap Sun's article "Bremerton eyes state program to help renters, owners," featuring the Bremerton Housing Authority.