Statement on the leaked Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee draft report

The leaked report from the Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee (HALA) shows how quickly the primary issue of affordable housing is sidelined when housing advocates are required to reach consensus with big developers in secret, closed door meetings.

Conspicuously absent in the draft report are any fundamental solutions, such as charging maximum developer “linkage fees” to build affordable housing, using the city’s bonding authority to build thousands of units of city-owned housing as an affordable alternative to the private market, or rent control.

These discussions should not be held behind closed doors, and they should not limit themselves to what is acceptable to the representatives of Seattle’s big landlords and developers.

I hope the final report from HALA corrects these omissions, but more importantly the City Council has a responsibility to move forward with real solutions, even if the developers and landlords on the HALA committee oppose them.

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