The people of Seattle are under the mistaken notion that HALA fees will be directed to address the homelessness we see on our streets.
Once again, we’re forgetting the people in the middle.
If a new hotel or residential high rise adds 1,000 patrons to Seattle’s daytime population, it also created the need for a certain number of services and therefore service workers. Inclusionary housing must be provided for that many new service workers and their families.
New construction needs to carry its own weight. The actual cost to build in our city center needs to be recalculated to include the cost to provide housing for the increase in the effective full-time equivalent workforce a new project will create, on top of whatever city leaders believe is needed to address our homelessness concerns.
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When developers opt out of dedicating the appropriate number of units to cover their own needs, they increase the demand for affordable housing — and the pressure on transportation and resulting greenhouse-gas emissions — in an ever-widening circle.
HALA fees must be sufficient to both provide inclusionary rent-restricted affordable housing for working-class individuals, as well as housing and services for Seattle’s homeless if we truly expect to address housing affordability and livability.
Ruth Danner, Seattle