Stable, Affordable Housing for All
bEveryone in Seattle deserves a safe, healthy, and affordable place to call home —and the lack of safe and affordable housing is one of the most pressing issues facing our city. Although Seattle’s booming economy has brought great benefits, there are too few homes—especially affordable homes—to accommodate our growing population. Our housing crisis needs a multi-faceted solution. We need a comprehensive approach, and a proven coalition-builder to help address Seattle’s housing needs, and I am ready to act now.
As your Seattle City Councilmember, I will:
With 1,000 new residents arriving in Seattle every week it’s critical we find both immediate and long term solutions to address our growing housing crisis. Housing costs are skyrocketing for both renters and homeowners, and as a result, the costs are threatening the diversity of our communities—both in terms of race and ethnicity, and in terms of middle- and low-income workers—a key part of what makes Seattle such a vibrant and thriving city. When families, workers and seniors are forced to leave our city because they can’t find affordable housing it greatly contributes to our regional traffic challenges, impacts our environment, drives sprawl, and exacerbates poor health outcomes. Inclusionary zoning policies produce affordable units, but it’s not a panacea for solving all housing challenges, so we must move forward with additional comprehensive, community-driven housing strategies as well.
As your City Councilmember, I will work with individuals, families, and seniors to develop the affordable housing options that we need now in Seattle. I am committed to moving forward to create real solutions, for the real families and seniors I speak to every day. The lack of affordable housing options is hurting everyone in our local economy, including our low-income and middle-income families. We must create more affordable housing options for all in Seattle.
- Move forward with the blueprint to create 50,000 new housing units —including at least 20,000 affordable homes—in the next 10 years and invest in additional publicly owned housing options now because HALA alone isn’t enough.
- Work with communities of color and those who are most at risk of gentrification to create housing and new development that is reflective of community needs.
- Call for an immediate conveyance of City-owned, developable land parcels to be developed into affordable housing with affordable retail and community facilities (such as early learning programs) on the ground floor.
- Prioritize housing dollars on transit oriented sites, such as Northgate, Roosevelt, and places near light rail and transit, to build needed affordable housing and walkable communities along transit lines.
- Address speculation in the market – assess empty buildings/lots that are driving up the cost of land and not creating housing solutions so we can incentivize developing housing now.
- Hold large developers accountable—if a new development doesn’t include the mandated affordable housing on-site, then get the in-lieu fees immediately to reinvest in affordable housing options. Bond against future MHA payments, so we don’t have to wait until the funds are actually collected, and use the bond proceeds immediately to address the current housing crisis.
- Seek legislative change and set annual targets from the City General Fund and Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) income to invest in affordable housing, in addition to dedicated Levy revenue.
Many low-income communities, communities of color, and our elders in Seattle are at risk of displacement. Displacement is a growing problem and some of our historic communities and long-time Seattleites are at risk of being priced out of their homes and neighborhoods. Many in our community who were affected by historic red-lining policies are now at risk again due to being priced-out of the community and pressured-out because of the lure of selling. Displacement occurs for far too many small business owners, especially women and people of color, who are getting priced out and pushed out of small retail spaces.
As your City Councilmember, I will work with community, small business owners, and community-minded, small developers to mitigate displacement. It’s not just about creating more housing options—it’s about creating vibrant communities through affordable housing options, near transit hubs, with accessible and affordable spaces for artists, small businesses, early learning centers, and community spaces.
- Expand investments in community land trusts, affordable co-housing projects, affordable housing co-ops, and incentivize accessory dwelling units where possible to create community and civic partnerships and win-win solutions to solve the crisis.
- Work with Council and the Mayor to bond against our voter-approved housing levy dollars to fund more affordable development projects.
- Help more low-income homeowners and seniors stay in their homes by increasing access to low-income and senior property tax exemptions or deferrals, and create more senior housing throughout our community.
- Develop Social Equity Impact Statements to evaluate new developments to see how they will affect Seattle’s community, economy, housing affordability, & displacement.
- Support Seattle’s Equitable Development Initiative to invest in our community infrastructure and cultural anchors that promote development done right.
The average rent in Seattle is currently the 9th highest in the world. Seattle has led the way in promoting the rights of tenants, but those are currently being threatened by corporate lobbyists at the state level and national level. The Seattle Renter’s Commission is a historic win for working families, students, artists, and seniors who rent throughout our city. But the lack of affordable housing options throughout Seattle is resulting in increased costs for renters and homeowners alike. I will push for legislation at the state level to give us all options, while also advancing immediate and local solutions to promote tenants’ rights, stabilize rent, and create more affordable housing now.
When I am elected, I will be the only renter on the City Council and the only one who has attempted to buy their first home in this economy and has been repeatedly outbid—I understand these struggles and I will advocate for a Tenants’ Bill of Rights. I will stand up for middle- and low-income homeowners and renters facing staggering increases that are forcing them out of their homes.
- Support a Tenants’ Bill of Rights to protect renters from retaliation, toxic exposure, and improve enforcement to protect against discrimination.
- Pass rent control/stabilization policies to protect against surprise spikes in rent and unaffordable increases.
- Create more affordable housing to help increase the number of vacant affordable units throughout Seattle—more vacancies help reduce tenant discrimination.
- Defend Seattle’s tenants’ rights laws in the legislature, strengthen WA’s tenant protections which provide the foundation of protections for Seattle’s renters, and advocate for the Low Income Housing Trust Fund.
We have a crisis, far too many people are living unsheltered in our Seattle streets. This is a crisis for our community members without a home and a crisis for our entire population that requires immediate and compassionate solutions. It makes no sense to sweep people from one location to another, which further traumatizes our community. It makes no sense to have our fire fighters and first responders serving as the primary care providers for the unsheltered in our streets. We need policy solutions that recognize that most folks who are living unsheltered need holistic health care and case management services, many have experienced trauma, and that too many of us in Seattle are just one paycheck or health crisis away from being unsheltered ourselves. The combination of people working in insecure jobs, the lack of affordable housing options, and the unmet need for health related services all create barriers to having a safe and secure housing.
As your City Councilmember, I will work with health care providers and case managers to invest in “housing first” models that provide a safe place to live, a warm bed, a shower, a PO Box, a place to rest and recover—and then get folks the treatment and case management that they need. This includes supporting permanent supportive housing and shelters for individuals, women, families, and seniors who may have co-occuring disorders. I pledge to work with my colleagues in the public health and human services to enact proven best practices so we can arrive at compassionate and health-based solutions for our homeless community.
- Invest in more “Housing First” models that allow individuals to get needed housing immediately, without barriers or demands on the unsheltered individuals.
- Establish Navigation Centers—with early community input and insight on location—to promote more harm reduction models throughout our community.
- Fund additional medical providers, case managers, mental health providers, and substance abuse treatment centers to help get individuals the care they need.
- Create “Warm Handoff” hotlines and a 24-hour nurse line for shelters and supportive housing locations to get the targeted assistance needed: prescription refills, appointments, aftercare, wound care, etc.
- Create more mobile medical units to provide low-acuity treatment on demand to the unsheltered—such as car-units that include medical providers, dentists, psychiatric workers, and case managers.