Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s first action as mayor aims to help households struggling with rent
Press release of the City of Seattle, Office of the Mayor, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan
by Kamaria Hightower
Durkan Issues Executive Order to Develop and Implement New Strategies to Quickly Help Seattleites on SHA Waitlist
SEATTLE--November 28, 2017--In her first action, Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan, signed an Executive Order aimed to quickly develop and implement strategies, including rental assistance, to assist rent-burdened lower income households pay for their housing.
“On a daily basis, Seattle residents are being forced from their homes and our city as rent prices continue to skyrocket. Our housing affordability crisis needs urgent remedies – families and individuals should not be forced to choose between buying much-needed medications, heating their homes, buying groceries, or paying their rent,” said Mayor Durkan. “While this action is only one tool for addressing our affordability crisis, families who need it most will see money back in their pockets now.”
To provide immediate relief in the first weeks in December, all families on Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) waiting list without preferential status will be contacted to expedite enrollment in utility discount programs and other public benefits. A pilot Seattle Rental Housing Assistance Program will be developed by January – this program will aim to provide a combination of vouchers and/or subsidies for renters on the SHA to provide relief for families with income between 30% and 50% of the area median income (AMI).In addition, the Office of Housing (OH) and SHA will work to expedite placement into housing and an interdepartmental effort will work to streamline City benefits. You can read the complete Executive Order here.
“This combination of immediate strategies hopefully can make the difference between keeping a roof over the heads of struggling families or forcing them onto the streets or into their cars,” concluded Durkan.
Durkan’s Immediate Steps to Relieve Housing Costs:
- To immediately reduce costs for the hardest hit, households on the SHA waitlist will be contacted in the first few weeks to determine if eligible. If eligible for reduced rates, households will be expedited into the Utility Discount Program and other public benefits to reduce.
- By January, a pilot Seattle Rental Housing Assistance Program will be developed.
- By the end of January, OH and SHA will develop partnerships to expedite placement of those on the SHA waitlist through the Multifamily Property Tax Exemption (MFTE) Program.
- By March, we will make progress on the creation of an affordability portal to streamline benefits for Seattle residents.