After weeks of Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant calling on her colleagues to redirect money intended for a new police precinct to fund affordable housing, a majority of the city council has come on board with her idea—sorta.
Six council members including Sawant have announced a proposal to sell city bonds to fund 500 units of affordable housing. But the bonds will not take full funding away from the controversial North Seattle precinct, as Sawant has advocated.
Under the plan, the city would sell bonds to raise $29 million in 2017. That money would then go into a city fund for affordable housing. Nonprofit housing developers could apply for money out of that fund, pair it with other funding, and build housing, as they do now for money raised through the housing levy. (That’s what allows the $29 million to “create up to 500 units” of housing, although the units themselves would cost more than that. Here are some examples of how the $29 million could be spent.)
In a city facing an acute housing affordability crisis, calls to use the city’s bonding authority to help build more low-cost apartments have grown. Last year, the mayor’s influential housing affordability committee recommended using city bonds to fund loans for affordable housing. But the question of where to get the money to pay back those bonds—especially at any scale that can really make a difference in the crisis—has been divisive.
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There are many reasons people become homeless, and the combination of factors that lead to homelessness are different for every individual.
As of 2009 in the Seattle King County area there are about 10,000 homeless people living among the streets or in shelters. Every year a one night count is conducted to count the number of homeless persons in the King county area. This count is conducted by The Seattle King County Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH).On January 30, 2009 the street count of the amount of homeless individuals was 2,827, the amount of homeless individuals in Emergency Shelters was 2,522, and the amount of homeless individuals in Transitional housing was 3,582. For a total of 8,961 counted homeless people.
The percent of homeless individuals by race in the year 2009, living in shelters consisted of; African American populated 40%, White 31%, Hispanic 12%, Multi-racial 6%, Asian/ Pacific Islander 4%, Native American 2%, with 5% unknown.
The ages of homeless individuals in King County Housing shelters include; From 0–5 years of age there were 895 homeless, ages 6–12 total of 714, ages 13–17 total of 422, ages 18–25 total of 723, ages 26–54 total of 2593, ages 55–64 total of 584, and ages of 65 years and older held 203 homeless individuals.