You are on page 1of 4

WHEREAS, according to the International Housing Affordability Survey of 2017, Seattle is

currently the ninth most unaffordable city in the United States [1]; and,

WHEREAS, Seattle has the third highest homeless population in the United States, despite only
being the 18th most populous city [2] [3]; and,

WHEREAS, national research shows that, on average, a $100 increase in monthly rent is
associated with a 6-32% increase in homelessness [4]; and,

WHEREAS, average monthly rental rent in Seattle have increased by $700 as compared to
2008 [5]; and,

WHEREAS, homelessness has increased by 48% over the past ten years [6] [7];

WHEREAS, rents in Seattle are increasing due to the influx of workers to companies such as
Microsoft, Amazon, and Boeing, thus displacing many low-income workers and exacerbating the
existing homelessness crisis; and,

WHEREAS, according to a Count Us In study conducted in 2017, 8,522 people in Seattle were
experiencing homelessness, which is likely an underestimate given the limitations imposed by
the methods of the study [7]; and,

WHEREAS, it has been found that those in unstable and unsubsidized housing are more likely
to avoid accessing medical care when needed due to their inability to afford care [8]; and,

WHEREAS, Fort Lawton was established in the late 1890s, but became unnecessary to the US
Army in the late 1960s [9]; and,

WHEREAS, according to the McKinney-Vento Act, federal agencies are required to make
surplus federal property available for homeless assistance; and,

WHEREAS, in 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) decided to close
the 70th Regional Support Command headquarters located at Fort Lawton and gave the City of
Seattle’s Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) the responsibility to prepare and implement a
redevelopment plan [9]; and,

WHEREAS, the City created a detailed plan to create mixed-income community with housing for
homeless individuals and families and market rate housing, while also preserving existing
wildlife habitat and creating a new neighborhood park, but was put on hold by a lawsuit requiring
the City to undergo a State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) review [9]; and,

WHEREAS, the City has a 5-year lease agreement with the Army to provide time to conduct this
SEPA review and create an updated redevelopment plan for the City Council to consider [9];
and,
WHEREAS, if no action is taken at the end of this 5-year agreement, the Army has the right to
sell this land at a profit; and,

WHEREAS, the City of Seattle Office of Housing has created three development options:
(1) A development consisting of a mix of homeless and affordable rental and
ownership housing, creation of active park facilities, preserved existing natural
areas, and a park maintenance facility;
(2) A development consisting of market-rate single family housing, with homeless
and affordable housing constructed off-site;
(3) A development converting the entire site into a public park, with homeless and
affordable housing constructed off-site [10], and;

WHEREAS, the City of Seattle intends to work with Catholic Housing Services and Habitat for
Humanity in constructing and implementing this first option to include 85 units of supportive
housing for formerly homeless seniors, as well as 75 to 100 units of affordable rental and up to
50 units of affordable ownership housing for low income families and individuals [11]; and,

WHEREAS, affordable rental housing largely consists of households earning up to 60% of the
area median income and affordable ownership housing largely consists of households earning
up to 80% of the area median income [11]; and,

WHEREAS, most concerns about the proposed redevelopment are due to misconceptions
about people experiencing homelessness and misunderstandings of the scope of this project,
with many citing concern about the impact it would have on Discovery Park, a fear of increased
crime, and a desire for Seattle Public Schools to use this land, [11]; and,

WHEREAS, this development would not impact Discovery Park [11]; and,

WHEREAS, Seattle Public School would not be able to use this land because they are ineligible
for a federal educational conveyance and there is no scheduled school levy until 2019, as well
as the lack of need of another public high school in this area [11]; and,

WHEREAS, people experiencing homelessness are less likely than homed people to commit
felonies and violent crimes [12]; and,

WHEREAS, 73% of Count Us In respondents said that increasing affordable housing would be
the key to ending their homelessness [7]; and,

WHEREAS, an analysis of data from the 1997 National Survey of America’s Families (NSAF)
found that, among children from families living below the poverty line, there was a positive
correlation between housing affordability and favorable health outcomes [8]; and,
WHEREAS, studies have found that increasing access to affordable housing can help improve
the health of those in poverty and those experiencing homelessness by freeing up resources for
food and health care expenses, as well as reducing stress and stress-related health issues,
improving self-esteem, increasing their sense of security and stability, limiting exposure to
allergens and toxins, and allowing them to escape from abusive environments [8]; now,
therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE ASSOCIATED STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF


WASHINGTON:

THAT, the ASUW supports the development of affordable housing in Seattle to address rising
need; and,

THAT, the ASUW specifically supports the development of affordable housing on the Fort
Lawton property; and,

THAT, a copy of this resolution be forwarded to City of Seattle Strategic Advisory for Housing
Policy Lindsay Masters, ASUW Office of Government Relations Local Legislative Liaison Leah
Haberman, Seattle City Council District 4 Representative Rob Johnson, Seattle City Council At-
Large Representative Teresa Mosqueda, Seattle City Council At-Large Representative M.
Lorena González, Mayor of Seattle Jenny Durkan, and ASUW President Osman Salahuddin.
[1] http://www.demographia.com/dhi.pdf

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2016/11/25/the-u-s-cities-where-the-largest-
homeless-pop-infographic/#4b5c20c14dde

[3] https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk

[4] http://www.commerce.wa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/hau-why-homelessness-increase-
2017.pdf

[5] https://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/seattle-rent-hikes-slow-amid-apartment-
boom-but-average-two-bedroom-tops-2000/

[6] http://www.homelessinfo.org/downloads/2007_ONC_Report.pdf

[7] http://allhomekc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/2017-King-PIT-Count-Comprehensive-
Report-FINAL-DRAFT-5.31.17.pdf

[8] http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.370.4585&rep=rep1&type=pdf

[9] https://www.seattle.gov/housing/ft-lawton

[10]
https://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/Housing/Footer%20Pages/Fort%20Lawton%2
0Right%20Sidebar/FortLawton_Scoping_Report.pdf

[11]
https://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/Housing/Footer%20Pages/Fort%20Lawton%2
0Right%20Sidebar/June19_Presentation_final.pdf

[12] Fitzpatrick, K., Myrstol, B. (2011) The Jailing of America’s Homeless: Evaluating the Rabble
Management Thesis. Crime & Delinquency 57(2):271-297.