The city spent $175 million over last three years producing 1434 ‘subsidized’ low income housing units but developers tore down 1889 low income units: Recent MHA upzones and more on the way will greatly exacerbate this trend
Drawing from city data sources (with links below) we’ve compiled amounts of money the city spent 2016-2018 to create new subsidized units, according to the City’s Office of Housing Annual Reports, and then added up the total units created for each of those years and then broken out total number each year priced at or below 50 percent AMI. It comes out to $175 million spent to produce 2565 units but only 1434 were priced for those at or below 50 percent of median.
Over the same years, 2699 units were torn down. Assuming 30 percent were homeowner and higher income rentals not affordable to low income folks, a total of 1889 units were removed serving low income households. 175 million spent over those three years – all to come out at the other end with a net loss of 455 low cost units in our city. There are applications pending for removal of another 910 units so far in 2019.
We also could add to this, the number of units lost each year to speculative activity, developers buying and selling existing low cost buildings driving rents up and tenants out, and due to increased taxes that result when an area is upzoned. We estimate at least 1000 more low cost units are lost each year as a result of upzoning and developer actions taking advantage of those upzones. These trends are about to be greatly exacerbated by the pending council passage of its city-wide “MHA” upzoning plan.
(A special note: our estimate that 70 percent of demolished units are occupied by low income households is based on past surveys we have done of residents occupying units in buildings where permits were pending for demolition and by using the reverse phone directory to call former residents of buildings torn down or already vacated for demolition. To downplay the impact of demolitions, city’s planners point to a much smaller number of low income households displaced from these buildings who qualified for and received relocation assistance under the Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance or TRAO. But most low income tenants in demolished buildings often aren’t even made aware of their eligibility under TRAO or for other reasons never apply for assistance, or the landlord forces them out before applying for permits so they never even receive notice of their eligibility. Also, TRAO limits eligibility for assistance to only households with a combined income below 50% of median. It means the majority of unrelated low income individuals who pool their rent and live together in a unit, most of these folks are not eligible under TRAO and go uncounted by the city. In otherwords using TRAO as a method for calculating numbers of low income people displaced by demolition is wholly inadequate.)
City spends about 70 million to produce a total of 1197 units in 2018 but only 557 units were affordable to those with incomes at or below 50% of median) htt
https://durkan.seattle.gov/2017/12/city-of-seattle-announces-100-million-in-affordable-housing-investments/ 2017 report indicates the city spent about 70 million to produce a total of 896 units of which 588 were offered to those with incomes at or below 50% of median
http://murray.seattle.gov/mayor-announces-47-million-affordable-housing-investments-2016/ 2016 report indicates that the city spent about 35 million to produce 472 new units of which 289 were offered to those with incomes at or below 50% of median
https://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/OPCD/Demographics/AboutSeattle/Citywide_Permit_Report.pdf this chart shows total demolitions by year