Housing challenges hit our poorest neighbors the hardest

Seattle is booming with new residents, jobs, and development. In 2014 the City Council conducted a comprehensive study of Seattle workforce housing programs and funding options, with particular attention to the needs of households earning 60-80% AMI. Unfortunately this nexus study did not focus on our most vulnerable neighbors, households earning 0-50% AMI. Despite our current economic growth, the costs of housing and the number of homeless people in Seattle are also rising. The Seattle Times reports, “Between 2010 and 2013, Seattle experienced the steepest rise in median rent among the 50 most-populous cities, according to new Census Bureau data.” Preliminary findings of the January 2015 One Night Count include at least 3,772 men, women, and children found without shelter during the three hour street count, an increase of 21% over those found without shelter in the previous year (this number is always assumed to be an undercount).


We need to think bigger

Seattle is ready for a comprehensive housing strategy to meet the demands of our continued growth. Good policies and programs flow from clear plans. We believe now is the right time for the City of Seattle to develop an affordable housing plan appropriate to a major US city. By quantifying needs and goals for development, a plan will help Seattle accommodate new growth and ensure fair access to safe, quality housing for all income levels. An affordable housing plan could also provide essential guidance for existing programs like Seattle’s Housing Levy, the Multifamily Property Tax Exemption (MFTE) Program, and Incentive Zoning (IZ). By setting specific, measurable housing expectations, programs can be evaluated and fine-tuned for better performance.


Let’s work together to set a comprehensive housing strategy

Rushed or random policy decisions cannot solve the complexities of affordable housing. The Coalition for Housing Solutions supports the development of a comprehensive housing strategy focused on increasing affordability. We believe a good plan will create navigable processes and measureable outcomes that ensure our efforts consistently result in more Seattle families with a sound and affordable roof over their head. Our coalition is one of several Puget Sound organizations developing workable ideas to preserve and create affordable housing for Seattle residents. We believe the best solutions will result when public officials, builders, land use experts, housing advocates and residents all bring their ideas to the table.

Please read to learn more about the issues of affordable housing.