ED Corner

Reflections on HALA

EDCornerSeattleShotBy HDC Executive Director, Marty Kooistra

In 2013, Councilmember Tim Burgess set the stage for addressing the challenging imperative to get Seattle a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Program. On Monday, July 13, Mayor Ed Murray, with five Seattle City Councilmembers standing alongside him, unveiled the new action plan for creating 50,000 additional housing units in Seattle in the next 10 years; 20,000 of these units will be income restricted. Taken as a whole, the 65 recommendations, which came out of the 10 month HALA committee process, offer more promise than ever before of nearly tripling the rate of affordable housing production and preservation in Seattle.

Until now there has been much discussion about the strategies intended to grow our supply of market-rate housing generally, and relatively less discussion of the strategies intended to create truly affordable homes. Perhaps this is because, after so much public discussion about the housing crisis before us, we have gained new consensus that we must use every tool available to us (and even create new tools) to address the housing needs of low-income households. While all of the tools HALA recommended are important, here at HDC, we are particularly excited for the momentum and broad support to 1) renew the Seattle Housing Levy in 2016, 2) create a mandatory, citywide inclusionary housing program, 3) gain authority for a new Real Estate Excise Tax for affordable housing, and 4) better preserve affordability by partnering with private landlords. On top of the recent accomplishments of our State Legislature, these policies promise to launch us into a new era for achieving our vision that all people have a safe, healthy, and affordable home.

We celebrate as one phase of Seattle’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda is behind us, and recognize that the real work of implementation is still before us. It is in large part thanks to your diligent work, and the careful leadership of the HDC Policy Staff, that we stand where we are today. The truth is, we continue to need every one of you and your colleagues, your residents, your friends, and your families, to join in stronger than ever before to turn this plan into reality. HDC offers its heartfelt thanks for all you have done and will continue to provide leadership and guidance. Onward, as this journey continues, and be sure to join us in the coming weeks and months to ensure this plan moves forward. You can start by attending upcoming opportunities to engage in your city!