Seattle King County REALTORS: Affordable housing amendments hurt Black churches

by Timothy Inklebarger

Seattle King County REALTORS released a statement decrying the City of Seattle’s amended bill that originally aimed to help faith-based organizations establish affordable housing.

Eddie Chang, a vice president on SKCR’s board of directors, said in a press release from the association that last-minute amendments to the bill will limit the use of urban land to provide housing.

The measure, signed by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan on July 9, would especially hurt Black churches, and their potential construction partners, Chang said in the press release.

The association noted that amendments also alter sections of a bill approved by state lawmakers in 2019 that incentivized religious organizations to establish affordable housing on properties they owned or controlled.

“Increasing the supply of housing is a long-standing priority for our association and Realtors statewide,” Chang added.

SKCR endorsed a letter by leaders of Nehemiah Initiative Seattle, Damascus International Fellowship, the Church Council of Greater Seattle and Renee Cheng, professor and Dean at U.W.’s College of Built Environments. That letter to Seattle City Council says parishioners in communities of color will “suffer under the weight of soaring rents and unequal access to housing.”

SKCR argues that the measure signed by the mayor should be reconsidered to lower the average household affordable median income to 60% from 80%, as well as increase the minimum term of affordability to 75 years from the current 50 years.

“Instead of helping historically Black churches and other faith communities create self-sufficient, low-income developments to house the unhoused on underused properties, Seattle is exacerbating our housing crisis,” Chang said.

Read More Related to This Post

Join the conversation

Oops! We could not locate your form.