The most effective response to the need more Affordable Housing is more supply. In chairing OlyCAP through its development and now into actual construction of 7th Haven, a 43 unit Affordable Housing and Childcare complex on Castle Hill, we see the biggest step in creating long term affordable housing in decades in Jefferson County. Not only as OlyCAP Chair, but on the Board of County Commissioners, I have worked internally, with our legislative representatives and as a cheerleader, to keep this project moving through the inevitable funding gaps and issues.
One of the biggest gaps was filled by the consensus award of the first $600,000 from the new 1/10 of 1% Sales Tax for Affordable Housing from our Councilmatic implementation of House Bill 1590 while I was BoCC Chair in 2020. People often lament any new taxes, and while Sales Tax is hardly progressive, a good percentage of our sales tax comes from tourism, so this mild increase ($1 tax on a $1,000 purchase) distributes more progressively to those that can afford to come out for a holiday.
In any event. It is not the first time that my fellow commissioners and I have spent our political capital on issues for the greater good. I'm proud of this tax and knowing that we can count on over half a million dollars per year to demonstrate local support for projects that can, like 7th Haven, bring over $15 Million of Affordable Housing development money to Jefferson County. The open market just cannot fill this housing gap. We need to use all our resources with a lens of equity at all times.