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Monday, January 23, 2006

"Affordable Housing" Funded By Bubble

Sorry, I've been a bit behind lately. I'm changing jobs in two weeks, so I've been busy at work trying to finish my projects and such. Let's start off my catch-up with an article from the Spokane Spokesman-Review that takes a look at state finances and low-income housing:

State analysts estimate that more than half of Washington's $1.4 billion budget surplus stems from real estate transactions. Now a bill in the Legislature would use some of that money to build housing for low-income residents.

"This massive increase in values has really highlighted the affordable housing crisis," said Rep. Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane, a co-sponsor of the bill. "I think it's our responsibility to try to eliminate some of the accompanying pressure that goes along with it."

The bill would pay for $100 million worth of low-income housing projects in the next four years. The bulk of the funding would go to the state's Housing Trust Fund, which has a backlog of $45 million in projects that could serve 2,300 households across the state, housing advocates said. Last year, two-thirds of all applications to the public fund were denied because of a lack of money, advocates said.
If only things hadn't gotten so out of hand to begin with, then there wouldn't be such a problem with affordable housing in the first place. Anecdote: Directly to the left of the property I'm living on in Kenmore a brand new apartment complex just opened up. Going rate for a two-bedroom: $950. If you had two people working full-time at minimum wage, that $950 would be nearly half of their combined monthly income. Considering the jobs available in Kenmore, it's no wonder that the one-acre property directly to our right has a big "notice of proposed land use action" sign indicating that it is going to be developed into a low-income housing project. Not trying to "prove" anything, just pointing out how expensive it is around here.

(Benjamin Shors, Spokane Spokesman-Review, 01.16.2006)

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