Oh, to be young, unemployed and homeless in Seattle.
Sure, sleeping rough can be difficult. The Emerald City is about to change that for some of its many, many unhoused residents, however, thanks to a $48 million scheme in which the city will buy up three buildings’ worth of luxury apartments, including studio penthouses with views of the Space Needle and Puget Sound.
According to Fox News, the 165 units the city purchased in the Capitol Hill neighborhood — best known to nonresidents as the site of the anarchic Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone/Occupied Protest last summer — won’t be leased at market rates but instead will go to individuals currently living in tents and temporary shelters.
And even if you don’t live in Seattle, you’re paying for it; the city is using part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan funds to cover the cost of the purchase.
“Everyone deserves a high quality, affordable place to call home,” said Emily Alvaredo, director of the Seattle Office of Housing, according to Fox News.
“The fact we’re able to produce high-quality, affordable housing at a price that’s good for the public, through our subsidy, is a win-win,” she said.
Whether or not the price is “good for the public” is another issue entirely.
“Seattle is spending $50 million or $300,000 per unit,” Fox News reported. “Developers say that’s two to three times higher than what it costs them to build.”
And, according to the Daily Mail, Seattle is promising more acquisitions in the coming weeks, despite the fact it could have built these apartments from scratch for half the cost.
Do you agree with Seattle’s apartment purchases?
Yes: 0% (0 Votes)
No: 0% (0 Votes)
“While planning and construction for an affordable multifamily rental housing development can take up to several years to complete, Seattle’s current real estate market presents unique opportunities to acquire newly constructed market-rate apartment buildings and quickly convert them to affordable housing,” the city said in a news release on Sept. 20.
“Our homelessness crisis has always been a housing crisis,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement. “The City of Seattle continues to make bold investments to address our homelessness crisis as quickly as possible.
“With this latest investment, we are building on a completely new approach that has