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Mayor Durkan Proposes “Building a Bridge to Housing for All”

Plan Invests in Affordable Housing, Bridge Housing, and Essential City Services Upon Sale of Property This Summer

Seattle (January 17, 2018) – In her first major legislation, Mayor Durkan proposed “Building a Bridge to Housing for All,” a plan to sell an underutilized City property to address Seattle’s affordability and homelessness crisis. Her plan would leverage $11 million from the sale of an underutilized City property to create urgently needed bridge housing for those in our community experiencing homelessness and to support households on the verge of homelessness, while also reinvesting in essential City services.

“With too many families pushed out the City and too many people living on our streets, we need to take urgent action to help those unsheltered and on the verge of homelessness. Leveraging one City property, we can provide essential services and attack our affordability crisis,” said Mayor Durkan. “There’s no quick or simple solution to solving this urgent challenge, but we can focus our efforts to rapidly deploy cost effective shelters to move people out of doorways and tents and into safer spaces.”

Mayor Durkan’s legislation is co-sponsored by four Councilmembers including Council President Bruce Harrell (District 2, South Seattle, Georgetown), Councilmember Rob Johnson (District 4, Northeast Seattle), Councilmember Debora Juarez (District 5, North Seattle) and Councilmember Sally Bagshaw (District 7, Pioneer Square to Magnolia).

“For years, I’ve been committed to creating more emergency housing options, and this investment will make significant progress to build more bridge housing for people on our streets or for those who are struggling on the edge of homelessness. Mayor Durkan’s proposal has strong support from the City Council because it will do what we’ve been trying to do for years:  address the affordability crisis from many angles, moving people into and through managed shelter into respectful permanent housing,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw (District 7, Pioneer Square to Magnolia).

“Leveraging the proceeds of this sale to help solve our homelessness crisis is a good and necessary investment. By funding new shelter and housing options and also including a payment to Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA), I am happy to see that these dollars would address both short and long term housing needs.  I look forward to learning more about how the proceeds of this sale will help house our unsheltered neighbors and keep people in safe and stable housing,” said Councilmember Rob Johnson (District 4, Northeast Seattle).

“I’m proud Mayor Durkan has chosen housing – one of our City’s most obvious and dire needs – as one of her first initiatives as Executive.  I look forward to collaborating with my Council colleagues to further develop this legislation and other bills intended to address our affordability crisis head on, and to meet the needs for women and others who are more exposed and face greater threats than most others when living without shelter,” said Councilmember Debora Juarez (District 5, North Seattle).

This one-time investment would leverage $3.5 million for essential City services and $10.7 million for affordable housing, safer spaces for those without shelter, and provide housing stability for households on the verge of homelessness. The sale of the property located at 1933 Minor Avenue is expected to close in Summer 2018. Mayor Durkan’s proposal includes:

  • Investing $5.5 million in a Bridge Housing Investment Strategy to increase our capacity to quickly and cost-effectively move people experiencing homelessness to safety through new bridge housing and shelter. Several options of bridge shelter or bridge housing will be examined including but not limited to mass shelter tents, hard sided tents, wood-frame sheds, portable modular bunkhouses or cabins, backyard cottages, and the master leasing of existing apartments. This strategy will kick off with a project to serve chronically homeless women in our community by the end of Spring 2018 with additional solutions to be deployed later this year;
  • Investing $2 million to maximize housing options for those on the verge of homelessness by piloting a Seattle Rental Housing Assistance Pilot Program;
  • Reinvesting $2.5 million into our City’s communications capabilities including the relocation of the Seattle IT’s Communication Shop and a new lease;
  • Investing $1 million for design and pre-planning costs for a new Seattle Fire Department facility; and,
  • An upfront Mandatory Housing Affordability payment of $2 million, for affordable housing. The City will be able to leverage the full payment of approximately $7.7 million several times over through other funding sources.

You can view the full “Building a Bridge to Housing for All” Fact Sheet here.