Seattle Housing Crisis: A Proposed Answer

Last week the AAUP released a position letter in support of what it called a democratized UW.  I responded by poiniing out that n terms of faculty dmeocracy,, "pricate schools like the Ivies, Cal Tech, Stanford do a lot bettter job of avoiding corporate influenmce than srtate run schools like our own.

LI think this is a BAD idea.  In a free market, providing vouchers drives the price up.  It is a subsidy to the rentor, not the renter.  The best way to to avoid this is by creating bond system that would allow co ops or nin profits to buy property and rent it as long they are not ever allowed t profit form the inflated value of the property.   If these bonds are tax free, ordinary citizens might well buy the bonds! 

Last week I released my proposal to increase the supply of homes in Seattle using a strategy of inclusionary up-zoning–with special attention to affordable housing for people earning the minimum wage. Increasing supply takes time and will not happen overnight. My new proposal for a voucher program would work in tandem with increased supply by immediately addressing the overwhelming demand for affordable housing. This proposal calls for:

• A city voucher program to protect low-income households from the threat of displacement by providing the support necessary to afford and remain in Seattle.

• A city voucher program that would be administered by the Seattle Housing Authority, which already operates the federal Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program.

• A city voucher program that would be funded by a voter-approved increase to the housing levy and augment the existing rental assistance to prevent homelessness program.

• A city voucher program that would be limited and end when there are sufficient affordable units built in Seattle through inclusionary up-zoning or other long-term programs.


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