Seattle Housing Authority Listening Session & Project Culmination
May 2, 2013

South Lake Union: a Neighborhood For All Families?

TU leaders and staff have been working with Puget Sound Sage and other groups to emphasize the need for affordable housing as Seattle, including South Lake Union, undergoes development and the rent goes steadily higher, displacing low income renters.

Seattle City Council voted on Monday, April 22nd, to promote affordable housing in South Lake Union through incentivizing developers to build affordable housing on-site instead of writing a check toward affordable housing elsewhere. TU leaders Tupelo Bahir, Garnett Brooks, and Solomon Berhane spoke powerfully to their experience of being displaced when their downtown housing was sold to for-profit developers and the rent was raised. They tell their stories in an Op Ed on Publicola. TU organizer Stina Janssen was quoted in this King 5 news segment, and Garnett and Stina testified at the City Council hearing, viewable here.

This vote represents a step towards affordable housing in the greater downtown area, but we have more work to do. The proposal that passed will mostly create housing for renters earning 80% of Area Median Income, or about $45,000 for one individual, and it won’t create enough affordable housing. The TU wants to make sure low income renters are included in South Lake Union and that the City is doing enough to stem the landslide loss of affordable housing in the greater downtown area.

Send a message to the City Council by emailing: [email protected],[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

You can use this sample email, and add why affordable housing is important to you:

Dear Councilmember,

My name is [ ] and I live in [neighborhood, city], and I’m a member of the Tenants Union of Washington State.

Thank you for your work on incentive zoning for affordable housing development in South Lake Union. As we move forward, we would like to continue to talk about how to include low and modest income renters in the development of downtown neighborhoods. Low and modest income people often need to be close to services, transit, employment opportunities, and medical care. I would like to see the City standing with low and modest income tenants through promoting affordable housing development so that all families have the opportunity to live in South Lake Union.

Thank you,

[Your name]

And then the CM email addresses.

Thank you!