Seattle has the third highest homeless population in the country, according to the City Mayors Association
Seattle’s City Council announced on Monday that it had completed the $48 million purchase of three buildings in the Capitol Hill neighbourhood, to provide homes for some of the city’s 12,000 homeless people.
Seattle (US) has the third highest homeless population in the country – only New York City and Los Angeles have more, according to the City Mayors Association.
In June, the Seattle City Council and Mayor Jenny Durkan signed a joint proposal that included $28.5 million from the COVID relief funds, officially titled the American Rescue Plan, for the acquisition of housing.
The Capitol Hill deals are part of the first round of acquisitions, with more announcements expected in the coming weeks, the city says.
The buildings are due to be ready before Christmas.
Durkan said that they had acted quickly to secure properties for a good price, and that Seattle could serve as a model for the rest of the country.
Seattle’s current real estate market presents unique opportunities to acquire newly constructed market-rate apartment buildings and quickly convert them to affordable housing, she said. Our homelessness crisis has always been a housing crisis.
The City of Seattle continues to make bold investments to address our homelessness crisis as quickly as possible. With this latest investment, we are building on a completely new approach that has the potential to become a national model for rapidly creating affordable housing, she said.
The three buildings will provide a total of 165 apartments.
Thirty six of the apartments will be for young people, while the rest will be allocated to vulnerable adults.
The apartments work out at an average of $300,000 per unit – two to three times higher than what it costs to build. But the cost pales in comparison when assessed alongside a development in Los Angeles, where 56,000 people are currently classed as homeless.
The Weingart Tower in Skid Row will be 19 stories and have 275 units, at a cost of $160 million, or $580,000 per unit of housing.
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