UW Student Researchers Working with Housing Now

For the past few weeks, five student researchers from the University of Washington have been working with Housing Now Seattle to do research into affordable housing. The topics they're studying include cost analysis (land and construction), a literature review focused on the policies and politics of affordable housing in other cities, and comparison of costs between Seattle and Washington DC. Their work will contribute to the (soon to be released) Family Housing Cost Model and to various reports and written materials to be published on the Housing Now website.


Above: Five students plus Alex, Ian, and Kate at our first planning meeting.

Bellow the jump are the names and bios of the five researchers:

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Housing Now at the People's Budget Town Hall

Ian and Alex had a great time last night at the "People's Budget Town Hall" at Seattle City Hall. We collected a bunch of signatures for the petition and got to hang out with lots of great people.

Many speakers mentioned the public finance idea positively, including Council Member Sawant who announced that she was advancing legislation to move forward with it. We've been working with a number of council members on this idea and we're glad to hear that she'll be helping advance it legislatively. We'll have more to say on this in the near future!

Housing Now Team is Growing

We're please to announce two additions to the Housing Now team. Ian Lefcourte is an urban planner with a background in affordable housing. He has been assisting us with data modeling and policy analysis. Kate Brunette has a background in community organizing and has been helping get our advocacy efforts in gear. Click the link to find out more.

If you'd like to get involved, let us know over at: http://www.housingnowseattle.org/volunteer

Public Finance Gaining Steam

In the heat of ongoing debates over the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) recommendations, single family zoning, and rent control, it sometimes seems like there is little consensus on clear next steps for affordable housing policy. Yet one progressive solution has been gaining steam while largely flying under the radar: enhanced public financing of affordable housing.

Housing Now Seattle has been meeting for months with councilmember, candidates, advisers, and experts. There is a clear and growing consensus supporting public financing for affordable housing, yet the trend has slipped under the radar. It’s time that public finance receives the attention it deserves. We need to elevate attention to this idea so we can turn this growing consensus into more affordable housing. Read more over at The Urbanist.

Solving Affordability Requires Understanding It

One of the reasons why so many cities struggle with achieving affordability a poor understanding of what constitutes affordability. This is why Housing Now has spent so much time on the The Family Housing Cost Model (FHCM).  This cost model is an important starting point for the policy discussion in Seattle and beyond. We've been hard at work on this and hope to release a public "beta" of the model by the end of June.

The cost model itself is derived from an approach pioneered in this article by Stone, Burke, and Ralson from 2011. The "Residual Income Approach" they describe has three great advantages:

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Family Housing Cost Model Reaches Alpha!

One of the less commented upon problems with calculating housing affordability on the basis of income is that many subsidies for low income people that exist or can be anticipated to exist in the near future don't make it into their "gross income" and instead they land on the balance sheets of various government programs designed explicitly to help people.

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First Blog Post

This blog will include news and updates regarding the campaign as well as interesting articles on housing and related topics we come across. Check back here for further updates!

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