King County continues to see unprecedented population growth and economic success. Along with this prosperity has come rising housing costs and housing supply unable to keep up with demand. Housing costs increasing faster than income is also causing many families to experience housing instability. Today, the Metropolitan King County Council and County Executive Dow Constantine recognized the importance of and need for affordable housing by declaring May 13 through May 17 Affordable Housing Week in King County.
Over 100,000 Households are Spending Over Half Their Paychecks for Housing
Over 100,000 families in King County pay more than half their income for housing, which limits their ability to pay for other necessities or cover emergency expenses. It also means they are at increased risk of losing their housing. Studies have found every $100 increase in median rent can result in a 15% increase in homelessness in urban areas and a 39% increase in homelessness in surrounding suburban and rural areas. In order to meet the current need for affordable housing units, King County would need 156,000 new affordable units today and 244,000 units by 2040.
“In King County alone over 100,000 households are spending over half of their paychecks for housing, which means they are one financial mishap away from losing their homes,” said Council Vice Chair Claudia Balducci. “It will take all of us – government, non-profits, businesses and the community to step up and solve this affordable housing crisis. I’m confident that together we can achieve a vision that ensures everyone has a safe, healthy and affordable place to call home.”
“Having a stable and affordable place to live is perhaps the single best indicator of one’s opportunity to achieve their full potential. King County faces an affordability crisis, and we are taking action to address it by funding thousands of new affordable units for those most in need,” said Council Chair Rod Dembowski. “I look forward to continuing to advance our collective work throughout the region to increase the supply of affordable housing for workers, seniors, veterans, and others struggling to find and keep housing they can afford.”
Affordable Housing Week
“This year for affordable housing week in King County, I give a special thanks to our community partners who are working to create and preserve affordable housing across the region,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Chair of the Council’s Health, Housing and Human Services Committee. “We know that stable housing can be a ticket out of poverty and a pathway to the middle-class. That’s why it is so important for all of us to work together to meet our goal of building or preserving 44,000 units of affordable housing –right now!”
The proclamation recommits the County Council and King County Executive to the goal of safe, healthy, and affordable homes for all King County residents and encourages all County residents to help raise awareness and assist in this humanitarian endeavor.
WHEREAS, all people should have access to safe, healthy, and affordable homes within communities of opportunity; and
WHEREAS, studies have found that each $100 increase in median rent results in a 15 percent increase in homelessness in metropolitan areas and a 39 percent increase in homelessness in nearby suburbs and rural areas; and
WHEREAS, the 2019 Point In Time Count found 5,228 people in our community without shelter; and
WHEREAS, the combined cost burden of housing plus transportation can be substantially reduced by locating affordable housing opportunities in proximity to transit; and
WHEREAS, everyone benefits from affordable housing, including the people who reside in these properties, their neighbors, businesses, employers, and the community as a whole; and
WHEREAS, the Association of Washington Cities determined that enhancing efforts to increase affordable housing, decrease homelessness, and improve a strained behavioral health system was a critical priority for the 2019 Legislative Session; and
WHEREAS, King County as a region completed a comprehensive and coordinated effort through the Regional Affordable Housing Task Force to develop a regional plan for addressing affordable housing needs, including identifying collective tools and options to create and preserve more affordable housing countywide; and
WHEREAS, united in an effort to raise public awareness, communities throughout King County are participating in local Affordable Housing Week efforts to inform the public of the critical need to build, preserve, and subsidize affordable housing in our communities; and
WHEREAS, the King County Executive and King County Council endorse the aims, objectives, and purposes of Affordable Housing Week, and recommit themselves to the goal of safe, healthy, and affordable homes for all county residents;
NOW, THEREFORE, we, the King County Executive and the Metropolitan King County Council, proclaim the week of May 13-17, 2019, as
AFFORDABLE HOUSING WEEK
in King County and encourage all county residents to assist in this humanitarian endeavor.
DATED this eighth day of May, 2019.
The above is a press release from the King County Council. The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents.