Explosive growth. Unprecedented housing inequity. How can King County address both?
Residents in our region face unprecedented challenges in finding and keeping homes they can afford. Rising rents continue to displace people further from their communities and push our most disenfranchised neighbors into homelessness. Across King County, 2 in 3 Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) renters are spending more than 30% of their income on rent, and pressures from inflation are compounding the impacts of high housing costs.
Underproduction of affordable housing continues in the face of increasing material, land, and labor costs, yet we have limited resources to invest in affordable housing. The Washington State Department of Commerce estimates that King County needs to add 212,000 homes affordable below 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) by 2044 to eliminate cost-burden. At current capital costs, this means that the region needs $1.9 billion in additional public revenue for capital funding per year. In addition to underinvestment and funding needs, current zoning policies further limit our ability to address the crisis, and systemic inequities continue to be a part of the outcome. As such, the shortfall of affordable homes has been decades in the making and the problem can’t be solved overnight. We are working toward innovative solutions that use ALL the tools in our toolbox.