FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 7/31/2015
Councilmember Sawant Calls for Accurate Accounting of Net Affordable Housing Units Resulting from HALA Committee Recommendations
SEATTLE – Councilmember Kshama Sawant has requested that the Department of Planning and Development and the Office of Housing provide the City Council with an accurate accounting of the number of affordable housing units expected to result from the HALA committee’s recommendations.
The committee has stated that their recommendations would either produce or preserve 20,000 affordable units over ten years. While Sawant supports the HALA proposals for increased affordability, she noted that the committee did not factor in the current market-available affordable units that will be demolished or become unaffordable over the same ten years.
“Without policies to stabilize rent increases, there is every indication that the current trend of rapid loss of market-available affordable rental units will continue unabated,” said Sawant. “For instance, in 2014, investors spent an unprecedented $3.8 billion buying apartment buildings in the Seattle metropolitan area, raising rents, and depleting the number of market-available affordable units.”
In an email to the departments and the Mayor’s office, Sawant has asked the departments to urgently carry out a study to estimate the net number of affordable housing units anticipated to result from the HALA proposal.
“To determine if the HALA recommendations are sufficient to meet Seattle’s affordable housing needs, we must account for the massive losses in affordability caused by the epidemic of economic evictions,” Sawant added. “Behind these numbers are the real-life experiences of working people, retirees and families of color.”
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