There is a severe lack of affordable housing in East King County. Housing prices are rising much faster than wages can keep up.
When we can’t afford to live where we work and have family, we have to make difficult choices: to move away from our communities and take on a long commute, or cut back on other vital basic needs.
Though the housing shortage is not always visible, a growing number of people in our communities are living unsheltered in cars or tents. King County analysis shows a gap of 94,100 mid- and low-income affordable housing units on the Eastside.
Housing Affects Everyone
There were, 966 homeless students1 in East King County in the 2016-17 school year. In the 2019 King County Point-In-Time Count, an estimated 1,089 homeless individuals were unaccompanied youth and young adults.2 Homelessness has particularly adverse effects on children and youth, including hunger, poor physical and mental health, and missed educational opportunities.3
60% of senior households who rent on the Eastside are paying more than 30% of their income to rent.4 By 2025 an estimated 53,793 seniors in King County will be living in poverty.5
Traffic is consistently cited as one of King County’s most pressing issues. Nearly 57,000 people in our region commute more than 90 minutes to work each way.6 Roughly half of Issaquah School District teachers live outside the district, and housing costs are a main deterrent to filling open positions.7
Communities of Color
Discriminatory practices create higher rates of poverty and economic instability among people of color, making it more difficult to afford rising housing prices.8, 9 People of color account for 57% of King County’s homeless population but only 17% of the total population.10
In King County, average rents increased 43% from 2012 to 2017. 11 34% of all households in East King County are cost-burdened, meaning they pay more than 30% of their income to rent.12 Since 2011, jobs grew 21%, which housing grew 13% in the Puget Sound Region, and many families are challenged to afford a home.13 To afford the average one-bedroom rent of $1,878 in King County, a family must earn $75,120/yr.14
Ensuring everyone has a safe and stable home can save King County tax payers as much as $30,000 a year per person housed.15 Each East King County city is developing an affordable housing plan that efficiently leverages tax dollars and regional transportation in response to the growing needs of our communities.
The need for affordable homes that is critical. For severely cost-burdened individuals and families, 31% delayed a routine health check-up because they couldn’t afford it, and 89% report financial stress is the issue in their lives worst for their mental health.16
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We help our residents stay in their homes, create community, and achieve their goals.
We can’t do this alone. We work closely with community volunteers and partners to provide resources and advocate for policy solutions.
State of Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 2018
All Home King County, 2019 Count Us In Report, pg 10
A Regional Coalition for Housing, Housing Needs Analysis, 2015
City of Seattle, Quiet Crisis: Age Wave Maxes Out Affordable Housing, King County 2008-2025, 2009
Seattle Times, Seattle’s mega-commuters: We spend more time than ever traveling to work, 2017
The Issaquah Press, Frustrated by the lack of affordable housing, middle-class workers are giving up on Issaquah, 2017
ThinkProgress, What It’s Like to Be Black and Homeless in Seattle, 2015
United Way of King County, Understanding King County Racial Inequities, 2015
All Home King County, 2019 Count Us In Report, pg 11
Regional Affordable Housing Task Force for King County Final Report, December 2018
Microsoft Affordable Housing Analysis, data valid through November 2018
National Low Income Housing Coalition and Zillow.com/data, June 2019.
Homeless Rights Advocacy Project, At What Cost: The Minimum Cost of Criminalizing Homelessness in Seattle and Spokane, 2015
Enterprise Community Partners/Wakefield Research, Health Begins with Home, April 2019