After Major Investments, Seattle Still Falling Behind on Affordable Housing Goals

The city aims to build 20,000 units of affordable housing by 2025, but as housing costs continue to increase, more Seattleites are being squeezed out of their homes.

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June 16, 2022, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Mount Rainier

CK Foto / Shutterstock

Despite almost doubling the city’s spending on affordable housing in the last few years, Seattle still faces a housing shortage, writes Josh Cohen in Crosscut.

“In 2017, the Office of Housing awarded $93.4 million to affordable housing developers to build 944 units of new housing. In 2018, the number dipped to $75.19 million in awards, but that was enough for 1,197 units of affordable housing. Last year, the Office of Housing’s affordable housing investment grew to $153 million, enough to build or acquire 1,910 units (several affordable housing developers were able to buy existing market-rate apartment buildings during the pandemic and operate them as subsidized housing).”

However, Cohen points out, “Years of insufficient housing construction, combined with Seattle’s seemingly endless cost-of-living increases, mean those new apartments still won’t be enough to meet the needs of Seattleites being squeezed out of the city or pushed into homelessness.” With costs of everything from land to construction supplies rising, making building affordable housing even more complicated.

According to Seattle Office of Housing interim director Maiko Winkler-Chin, funding the amount of housing necessary will likely require renewing and increasing the Seattle Housing Levy, a $290 voter-approved property tax set to expire in 2023.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in Crosscut

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