• As rents generally rise, advocates unveil affordable housing plan

    By: KIRO 7 STAFF


    Alarmed by rising rents, housing advocates Monday unveiled a long list of proposals to make Seattle more affordable.

    They ranged from issuing $500 million in city bonds for affordable housing to rent control, or stabilization, which is now illegal under state law.

    "Without that, rent will continue to rise and our city will become more and more unaffordable," said Ishbel Dickens of the Community Housing Caucus.

    Also being debated at City Hall is a proposal to force developers of any commercial or multifamily residential project to pay what's called a linkage fee for affordable housing.

    That proposal has alarmed the business community.

    "If you're trying to lower the cost of housing, the worst way to do that is to increase the cost of housing," said Ryan Bayne of the Coalition for Housing Solutions.

    A new quarterly report from Apartment Insights Washington says there are more than 12,000 units in King and Snohomish counties that have either opened or are scheduled to open in 2015. If all indeed open this year, analyst Tom Cain concludes it will break the record set in 1989.

    Cain's report also shows that rents rose 2.1 percent to an average of $1,341 per unit.

    "It blows my mind that the rents are as high as they are. They are forcing everybody out of the city," said Susan Russell, now living in a transitional housing facility.

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