Following his pledge to provide an “aggressive” goal for new affordable housing units in Seattle, Mayor Ed Murray announced Thursday he wants to create or preserve 50,000 new housing units in the city over the next decade, 20,000 of which would be income restricted. Murray is directing his Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee to come up policy proposals by May to meet the target.
“Seattle is facing a serious lack of affordable housing options that displace families and people in this city,” Murray said.
The 20,000 income restricted units would be for individuals and families making 80 percent of the area median income and below. The other 30,000 units would be market rate. Murray didn’t specify where those units would be built or preserved, only that they would be within the city limits.
Here’s a look at the income levels for one and two person households that the committee will be targeting:
Earlier this month, the Community Housing Caucus, a group of low income housing advocates and legislative staff, produced a report with dozens of proposed planks to be included in the final recommendations. That report followed a 14-point set of recommendations sent by the developer-focused Coalition for Housing Solutions to Murray’s office.
Last year, Seattle had the fastest rising rents among major U.S. cities, causing some officials to say affordable housing had become a full-blown crisis. Last year, City Council members passed a resolution to start drafting their own affordable housing plan that would involve having developers pay a “linkage fee” to go towards building more affordable housing.
Murray has stopped short of using the “crisis” label and told CHS the explosive growth in Seattle doesn’t have to be mean the end of neighborhood culture. “These things can be good for cities,” the mayor said.