A Housing State of Emergency

We must reaffirm our commitment to address our region’s housing crisis.

A recent news release by the King County Housing Authority underscores the growing and urgent need for housing assistance. Unfortunately, I was not surprise to learn that in just a two-week application period, KCHA received 19,500 applications for Section 8 rental housing assistance. The applications clearly outlined that poverty and housing instability have continued to increase at an alarming rate. The number of households reporting zero income more than doubled and nearly 60% of applicants reported they were currently homeless. In addition, we’ve continued to see families fleeing domestic violence, as well as veterans, and households with at least one elderly or disabled family member, being disproportionally impacted by the housing crisis.

While the lack of affordable housing has exacerbated poor outcomes for the most vulnerable in our communities, we must also remember this is an issue that impacts all of us.  We know affordable and stable housing has been linked with improving education, health and economic outcomes for families and children. Housing is the foundation for the economic development of our region.

We must continue to come together as neighbors, community leaders, advocates and policymakers, to demonstrate how our values of inclusion and social justice can be reflected in our response to this crisis. The vitality of our neighborhoods will be greatly dependent on our ability to ensure affordable and stable housing is accessible to all King County residents.

Image of Greenbridge courtesy of King County Housing Authority

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