Unaffordable housing, displacement, and homelessness are major challenges in Seattle. But solutions exist and the next City Council will have the opportunity to make policy choices impacting the ability for all our neighbors to live in safe, healthy, affordable homes. To request our endorsement please review the information below. Then click here to take our candidate survey. Please respond by June 10. Primary endorsement decisions will be made no later than June 30.
Download a copy of the questions here: Seattle candidate questionnaire.pdf
To be considered affordable, a household should spend no more than 30% of their income for housing. To afford the average rent for a modest one-bedroom apartment in the Seattle area, a household needs fulltime earnings of almost $30 an hour. 72% of the lowest income renters spend more than half their income for rent. In the Seattle metro area, there is a shortage of 112,678 affordable and available homes for people earning less than half the area median income.
The lowest income households have fewer options and are far more likely to spend more than they can afford for rent, and with such small incomes already, have very little left for other necessities. https://reports.nlihc.org/gap
While many factors may contribute to anyone’s path to becoming homeless, the primary cause of the increased in homelessness seen in recent years in our region is the sharp increase in housing costs. According to Zillow research, the relationship between rising rent and growing homelessness is particularly strong in Seattle. https://www.zillow.com/research/rents-larger-homeless-population-16124/
The recently released point in time count found 11,199 people experiencing homelessness in King County on a single night in January. While a reduction from last year, it is likely that the county will still have the third highest number of people experiencing homelessness in the country (behind only Los Angeles and New York). Homelessness disproportionately impacts people of color. Native Americans made up 10% of those identified even though they represented just 1% of the population. African Americans made up 32% and represent 6.2% of the population. http://allhomekc.org/king-county-point-in-time-pit-count/
According to the report, Losing Home, by the Seattle Women’s Commission and Housing Justice Project, 1,473 tenants faced eviction in Seattle in 2017. People of color, especially African Americans, were overrepresented and women were far more likely to be evicted over very small amounts of money. http://bit.ly/LosingHomeReport The University of Washington Evictions Project found that African American adults in King County were 5.5 times more likely to be evicted during a five-year period than white adults. https://evictions.study/
In Seattle, many fulltime workers earning the average salary in their field can’t afford even the average priced one-bedroom apartment. This includes nursing and home health care aides, childcare workers, retail salespeople, security guards, bank tellers, and more. These workers are often forced to live outside the city and face long commutes every day or spend far more than they can afford on rent and forgo other necessities. https://www.nhc.org/paycheck-to-paycheck/
Download this as a PDF: Seattle housing context.pdf