Mayor Burgess moves to upzone Seattle

By: Essex Porter

Updated:

SEATTLE - You can see the problem on just one block in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Newer, more expensive housing -- is replacing the older, more affordable housing that many families relied on.

Housing advocates say even people with middle class incomes “are being forced to choose between paying rent and paying for health care, or for their kids’ education. They are being forced further and further from the jobs and opportunities of this city,” said Susan Boyd of Bellwether Housing.

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​Today Mayor Tim Burgess came to Capitol Hill to announce the beginnings of a solution.

He wants to expand the Mandatory Housing Affordability program citywide. It requires developers to include or pay for affordable housing, in exchange for building bigger, taller, more profitable buildings. But it will be at least a year before results start to show.

Burgess said earlier programs are producing housing now, “We passed a housing levy, we doubled the size of the housing levy a couple of years ago. We're building that housing now.”

Over 10 years, 6000 homes will be built. A family of four earning $57,600 would pay $1,296 rent for a 2-bedroom apartment. An individual earning $40,320 would pay $1,008 rent for a 1-bedroom apartment.

Despite critics, Burgess says the low-income housing will be spread around the city.

“We build it in those neighborhoods and every other neighborhood in the city. So at the end of the day the affordable housing we're constructing is spread throughout the whole city.”

Burgess leaves office on Nov. 28th, but he said he has talked with Mayor-elect Jenny Durkan and she supports this plan.

 


 

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