A handful of Seattle’s greater than 12,000 homeless folks will quickly be shifting from the road to a studio penthouse with a view. The ending touches are being placed on three condominium buildings in Seattle’s expensive Capitol Hill neighborhood, the place one of many buildings has beautiful views of the Space Needle and Puget Sound. 

But as a substitute of being leased at market charges, the 165 items will go to folks at the moment residing in tents and in short-term shelters. The metropolis is utilizing a portion of the $1.9 trillion federal COVID aid bundle often known as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

“Everyone deserves a high quality, affordable place to call home,” says Emily Alvaredo, director of the Seattle Office of Housing, “The fact we’re able to produce high-quality, affordable housing at a price that’s good for the public, through our subsidy, is a win-win.”

Seattle is spending $50 million or $300,000 per unit. Developers say that’s two to a few occasions greater than what it prices them to construct. But the Seattle condominium buy looks like a discount in comparison with a homeless housing undertaking breaking floor in Los Angeles’ Skid Row. The Weingart Tower shall be 19 tales and have 275 items. It shall be largely studio flats with some one-bedroom items. The price ticket is $160 million, which works out to $580,000 per unit of housing.


They’re a part of an costly push to get the homeless off the streets, out of public parks and into government-subsidized housing even when it means shopping for new buildings at market charges from builders.

“Affordable, deeply affordable permanent housing is the solution,” says Sharon Lee, government director of Seattle’s Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), “It just takes so long to build, so in the meantime, why should we let vulnerable people, women, seniors live on the street?”

LIHI, a nonprofit central to Seattle’s homelessness response, at the moment manages 40 properties with 1,535 everlasting housing items. The three new buildings will push their whole previous 1,600 items. Additionally, LIHI operates two lodge shelters and 9 tiny home villages in Seattle with 298 shelter items.

Some critics say that whereas metropolis leaders spend huge taxpayer {dollars} on homeless housing, City Hall insurance policies could also be contributing to homelessness. Full-paying tenants are having a more durable time discovering an reasonably priced place to lease. Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan just lately prolonged the town’s eviction moratorium a sixth time by the center of January 2022. And the City Council adopted that by passing two extra so-called renter safety legal guidelines. Landlords are actually required to offer tenants six months discover of any hire improve. They’re additionally now accountable to pay the shifting prices for any tenant who strikes out moderately than pay a hire improve of 10% or greater.

Real property consultants say the measures are driving landlords out of the rental housing enterprise.

“A lot of people are deciding it’s too risky for me to put someone into my home under the current conditions,” stated Cory Brewer of Windermere Real Estate.

Brewer has the statistics to again it up. Of Windermere’s landlord purchasers, there was a 48% improve in rental houses bought to proprietor occupants in 2020. And up to now in 2021, there’s been a 35% improve on prime of that. Additionally, in keeping with the newest report from Seattle’s Department of Construction and Inspection, 2020 noticed 4,858 fewer properties registered as a rental property. It was a drop of 14%. Brewer and others say chasing landlords out of the town solely hurts renters.

Daniel Stoner, CEO of Next Gen Housing Partners, which has constructed seven condominium buildings in Seattle, says the reply to the housing crises is extra housing. Regulations that dramatically improve growth prices or make it tougher to hire properties, solely lower out there provide.

“We see a disconnect between what is being said and what is actually being done behind the scenes in terms of city policies,” stated Stoner, “They’re making it harder for us to bring apartments to market.”