Guest Rant May 15, 2024 at 10:00 am

Housing Is a Human Right and a Powerful Green New Deal Solution

I-137 can help get social housing like Sonnwendviertel in Vienna off the ground here in Seattle; let's not allow misleading critiques to stop our city from achieving a beautiful, low-carbon future. Courtesy of House Our Neighbors



I wanted to love this initiative, but I am deeply skeptical of an organization whose governance board elevates identity over technical expertise, and is poorly positioned to self correct when things aren’t working out (ie evictions). I lived through the monorail fever dream and more recently, KCHRA.


@1 - ditto, plus also deeply skeptical of an organization that cannot craft a grammatically correct headline.


"Can you imagine a Seattle with dense, green, affordable housing in every neighborhood? "

No, and that's a dumb goal. Thanks to the council and our ridiculous tax structure, our SFR owners (or absentee landlords) are even more entrenched than they have ever been. You will never see that sort of housing in North Admiral or Magnolia, or Laurelhurst or along the shorelines.

I'm all for "green, affordable, housing", but I think they'll have to be implemented in the urban villages, and that there'll have to be some sort of incentive to keep them affordable.


@1-@4: Agree in full, and add: from the beginning, this has been sold as a pie-in-the-sky solution which will provide bountiful housing at little cost or effort, thus setting it up to fail from the start. When I-135 struggled to reach the ballot, critics asked where the funds would come from, and were told, "pass the initiative first, then worry about money later." That bill is now literally coming due, and the organizers still ignore the other basic realities of building and maintaining low-income housing. Addressing each problem as it arrives is not a plan for success.


Lets all remember another key difference between this joke and the real ones they constantly reference in other countries. Low idiot tolerance. In the others, if you don't pay up and just sit using all day, you get bounced. Bad behavior impacting your neighbors? Bounced. They view living in their social housing as a privilege, not an entitlement.

Here? When they merge it with "harm reduction" and lack of any concern for behavior? Good luck retaining the paying customers who keep the lights on.


@5 exactly. Had they actually visited any of the other countries they think they want to emulate with respect to social housing, they'd discover the tolerance for anti-social, bad behavior is what they'd refer to as "fascist" if even suggested here.


I'm deeply wary of establishing yet another public agency, when the Seattle Housing Authority already runs social housing programs, in addition to its HUD-funded housing. Seattle residents have been funding senior housing programs at the local level for decades. SHA manages the buildings, which are not governed by HUD "public housing" rules because unlike public housing, they do not receive that form of HUD funding. We're witnessing the debacle of a poorly designed KCHRA. Now we want to set up another brand new agency with a half-baked mandate?


@7, social housing as a model DOES offer something different: above market housing rented to a subset of tenants subsidizes the below market housing. The two existing models are limited to 1) market rate, which doesn’t serve the poor and 2) subsidized housing which is extremely expensive and also scarce. For this new Option 3, there is a big assumption that profits from the market rate customers are so fat that this blended model will work. Assuming that is true, there are still several other challenges that were completely self-inflicted, called out in the other comments. It’s really a shame this concept was so poorly constructed in the governance bylaws because it stood a better chance to work without baked in trouble spots.


Can I imagine Seattle with social housing?
Can I imagine it being managed effectively and efficiently?
It would turn out like Cabrini-Green or Pruitt-Igoe


When will these "progressives" get it through their thick heads that the U.S. is not Europe, and that European solutions rarely work here because of cultural and societal differences? Not to mention we don't need yet another grand bureaucracy with lofty goals that will never be achieved because the people advocating for and running the organization have their heads in the clouds.


“…if you give a man a fish, he is hungry again in an hour. If you teach him to catch a fish, you do him a good turn…”

--Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie

Teach people to work and take care of themselves so they can afford to pay for their own housing.

Sure, things are expensive due to post-COVID supply-chain issues and Biden’s Big Brother handouts inflating the public sector and tightening the money supply, but there’s a severe labor shortage and anyone who can work can find a job.

In fact, the City of Seattle is one of the area’s largest employers, so you could get a public-sector job like Aki, lining up supplicants with government handouts.

Don’t dump this social problem on the doorstep of employed, tax-paying citizens who already have enough bills to pay.

We need to put an end to these co-dependent government solutions that really kick taxpayers in the ass.

Seattle was built-out in the forties and is an extremely popular area, so understandably housing is expensive here.

Developing another government agency to create a problem for a solution is a ridiculous waste of precious time and human energy.

Most social service advocates are too young to remember the Cabrini-Green or
Pruitt-Igoe Public Housing disasters that perpetuated crime and poverty in the Chicago and Saint Louis communities.

These Great Society programs were driven by elite white guilt over slavery, and an unbending desire to have an over-reaching government bureaucracy control poverty, with regrettable, counter-productive results.

Central planning never works, except in the fantasy world of the progressive leftist.

This Green New Deal campaign sounds like the Old New Deal whereby cash is sucked out of taxpayers’ pockets and given to government agencies who pay themselves first and build substandard housing that becomes dens of perversion.

Seattle needs to go on a budgetary diet, and expanding these public housing programs is not the way to do it.

Sure, the universities are churning out these pie-in-the-sky socialists who want the government to do everything for everyone, including wiping their noses and asses, and always point to a European model, even though this is not Europe. Yet.

Nevertheless, why not consider supply-side solutions like getting people off drugs and into the labor market?

Also, let’s make drug use a crime, so people can’t disrobe and shoot up on Third Avenue without official rebuke from Seattle Police.

If indigents continue to shuffle around with their pants down, looking for cigarette butts and leftover tidbits, round them up in a paddy wagon and drop them off in a warm climate like Yakima or the Tri-Cities.

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