75 DESC units brings the total of extremely low-income units to over 25%? This certainly appears to be in excess of the Office of Housing limit of 20%.
I believe that the DESC project proposed for Delridge does not meet the intent of the guidelines for siting affordable housing, as published in the Seattle Office of Housing Policies. It appears that there may be a significant number of extremely low-income households in this area that are not being served by subsidized housing, and thus are not counted by the Office of Housing’s siting policies. I am posting this information to a blog because I think it is the fastest and clearest way to get this information out – I am not a demographer, but what I have discovered from the census data seems compelling.
Frankly, I am stunned by the results of my census research. Living in this neighborhood I did not realize the extent of economic distress. Some key points of information from my research into census tract 107 containing the proposed DESC site:
- 31.6% of the 1,977 households earn below $20,000
- Households with extremely low rents (below 30% rents as published by the Office of Housing) comprise 39.1% of all rental units and 23.6% of all households
- With the addition of 75 DESC units, that would increase to 42.7% of all rental units and 26.4% of all households
It should be noted that this census tract includes High Point, as well as a couple of large affordable housing units that I am aware of on Delridge Way, so the Office of Housing is certainly aware of those existing units and others that I may not be aware of. However, I found something more alarming in my research:
- Over 50% of the households earning less than $20,000 are paying more than 35% of their income for rent – I believe many of these households may not be in subsidized housing or they would not be paying so much for their rent. (Subsidized affordable housing aims to keep rents below 35% of a person’s income.)
- What does this mean? This means that there may be a significant number of extremely low-income households in this area that are not being served by subsidized housing, and thus are not counted by the Office of Housing’s siting policies.
Geographic dispersion of very‐low income housing throughout the city is encouraged. Mixed‐income housing (housing serving low‐income households with incomes above 50% of median income) is encouraged in underdeveloped areas in the city where higher percentages of low‐income residents or housing exist.
I think Delridge counts as an underdeveloped area where higher percentages of low-income residents exist. Too many households in economic crisis is not good for our neighborhood — and it is not a good way to support the extremely vulnerable chronically homeless population that is proposed for this project.