Durkan held a press conference backdropped by tiny houses under construction.
Durkan held a press conference backdropped by tiny houses under construction. SH

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In today’s Morning News, Stranger intern Nathalie Graham touched on Mayor Jenny Durkan’s proposal to use the proceeds from the planned sale of city property to fund her proposals to tackle Seattle’s homelessness problem.

It’ll be Durkan’s first piece of major legislation since taking office in November and the most substantial step towards fulfilling her campaign promise of building 1,000 so-called “tiny houses” for the homeless. Tiny houses first started showing up in sanctioned encampments during former mayor Ed Murray's administration.

A spokesperson for the city says it will collect $11 million from the sale of 1933 Minor Avenue, a South Lake Union property currently used to house the city’s IT communication shop. Durkan’s plan calls for using $5.5 million of the proceeds to invest in short-term programs, including new tiny houses. About $2 million would go towards a rental housing assistance program for 150 people on a waitlist for subsidized housing. The rest would go to covering the relocation of the communications shop and designing a new fire station.

“Looking at the sale of the property we’re talking about today, I had a simple question. What can we do with the sale of the property to improve our position on homelessness?” Durkan said at a press conference at the Seattle Vocational Institute this afternoon. “It is not a parcel that lends itself to building our own housing because of the size of its proximity to different places, so wanted to make sure we could squeeze as much as we could out of this property.”

Durkan’s plan does not specify where the city would put new transitional housing. Rather, she announced that she plans to create a sub cabinet under the Seattle Department of Housing to study shelter investments and where new shelter options may go.

We still don't have the legislation, but here's a fact sheet that Durkan's office gave reporters. We'll update this post when we see the bill.