Path(s) To Affordable Housing


KUOW has posted an article and interactive graphics that look at policies behind the 15,182 income-restricted rental units built in Seattle since federal funding for affordable housing was cut in the early 1980s.  The article offers an overview of Seattle’s strategies for financing affordable rental housing – successes, failures, and possibilities for the future.

As the user hovers a cursor over each project on the map, an information pop-up displays the project’s name, address, date of completion, financing mechanism, number and sizes of units reserved for low-income renters, and distribution of units rented at market rates and those reserved for specified categories of low-income renters.

Of the policies reviewed, using property-tax money from Seattle’s affordable housing levies financed about 80% of the past 3 decades’ income-restricted rentals.  Giving tax breaks to developers who included affordable units accounted for another 16% of units (after 12 years, however, owners can raise rents to market rates).

For families with children, the supply of affordable rentals in Seattle is limited. About three-quarters of income-restricted units (11,304) were studios, 1-bedrooms, or SROs (single room/resident occupancy); another 4% were in group homes; only 6% of units had 3 or 4 bedrooms.

Over the next 10 years, Seattle hopes to generate an additional 20,000 affordable units.  KUOW is making it easier to understand the behind-the-scenes policies that could make that happen.

See Communities Count’s Housing topic for King County data on affordable housing.  Look for an update on affordable housing for King County cities before the end of the month.