Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda Update

Last fall, Mayor Murray and City Council called together a twenty-eight member stakeholder committee to help develop a bold agenda for increasing housing affordability and livability in our city. The Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) Committee is now up and running, and will deliver a set of recommended actions to the Mayor and Council by the end of May, 2015.

To date the HALA has held three community meetings in locations throughout the city to hear from residents. They are continuing to gather community input through the Mayor’s website.  The HALA Committee has met four times, and has established a series of strategy work groups.  In addition to the twenty-eight community members on the HALA Committee, the work groups engage more than fifty other subject matter experts and community representatives from around the city to help develop specific strategies. Participants include architects, builders, neighborhood leaders, and financiers. The seven strategy areas are: financing, new affordable housing resources, zoning and housing types, construction costs and timelines, tenant access/protections, housing preservation, and sustainable homeownership. Each group will develop detailed actions that could be implemented to help move the needle on making housing more affordable. These strategies will be reviewed and prioritized by the HALA Committee in early spring.

For more information on HALA, to review meeting materials, or to view a wealth of data about housing, please visit Mayor Murray’s webpage at  http://murray.seattle.gov/housing/#sthash.Y8HciqXX.dpbs

Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda Update

Mayor Murray and members of the City Council have called together leaders in our community to help develop a bold agenda for increasing the affordability and availability of housing in our city. The Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda will chart a course for the next 10 years to ensure the development and preservation of a diversity of housing for people across the income spectrum.

A 28-member Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee is charged with evaluating potential housing strategies and delivering a set of recommendations to the Mayor and Council by May 29, 2015. The committee is co-chaired by Faith Li Pettis of Pacifica Law Group and philanthropic-sector leader David Wertheimer, and includes renters and homeowners, for-profit and non-profit developers, and other local housing experts. DPD and Office of Housing staff are working closely with Mayor Murray’s office to support the work of the committee.

Public engagement is an important part of the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda. In November, we held two public open houses to gather information from residents about their housing needs. The first meeting was November 19 at the Ethiopian Community Center in Southeast Seattle and the second was at Garfield Community Center in the Central District on November 20. There will be one more community meeting on December 4 at Olympic View Elementary in Northgate, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. At the meetings, City staff and committee members have a chance to talk with a broad range of residents to get ideas on how to address the affordability challenge, and to hear personal stories about housing needs. There will be many more opportunities for public involvement between now and May, including online surveys, more community meetings, and City Council briefings.

The full 28 member Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory committee convened for the first time on November 4, 2014. They heard an introduction from Mayor Murray, then discussed the purpose and goals for the Agenda, and received a background data briefing. At a second advisory meeting scheduled for December 11, 2014, the committee will discuss setting up a series of small working groups to address specific topics such as housing types, financing tools, and tenant protections. As we move into 2015, City staff and the advisory committee are looking forward to analyzing a set of specific housing actions that can ultimately create more affordable housing in Seattle.

For more information, visit the Mayor’s website at http://murray.seattle.gov/housing/#sthash.R9KJIf6a.dpbs.