Sawant, Licata push plan for Seattle rent control
SEATTLE, Wash. -- Hundreds packed Seattle City Hall Thursday night to hear plans to bring rent control to Seattle, and vent about their own difficulty affording a place to live.
Council members Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata held the Affordable Housing Town Hall, and hope to change state law to allow rent control, or stabilization, as a means to contain the exploding costs of renting homes in Seattle.
So many people attended the public hearing a second viewing area was setup on the floor below council chambers. It was there Grace Glanton watched the meeting unfold.
"Expensive. Very expensive," said Glanton of her West Seattle apartment, "I make under $15-an-hour. If it weren't for my living with my significant other, I wouldn't even be here."
Meanwhile, Mayor Ed Murray has proposed solving the affordable housing problem in Seattle by adding more units. A taskforce on the matter is expected to present its findings in May.
Sean Flynn with the Rental Housing Association of Washington is on the taskforce.
"What we need to do is not look for someone to blame," he said, "Instead, we need to look at economic plans that allow us to build affordable housing."
Flynn believes rent control "sounds really great as a catchphrase", but suggests taxes on growth would be a better way for the city to profit from and maximize the current population boom.
"When you look at places that have instituted types of rent control, you see less affordable housing and you see rents go up," he said.