It’s clear that lawmakers are buying into the idea that there’s an affordable housing crisis going on in Washington state, Seattle and King County in particular. But whether or not those lawmakers are tackling the issue efficiently is a whole other question.
A state of emergency was declared for the homeless problem in Seattle and the number of people living on the streets or in temporary shelters around the state continues to rise.
Our politicians have said creating more affordable housing is a necessary step toward solving the issue of homelessness. But building affordable housing is expensive. When it came time to spend money to figure out why building non-profit low-income housing costs so much, Gov. Jay Inslee backed out.
As Forbes contributor Roger Valdez reported, Inslee vetoed a budget proviso “that would have funded a comprehensive study of this very question.”
“We have this huge, self-declared housing crisis,” Valdez told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “We see the tents and see the people living under the bridges. The reality is that the answer that the governor and other Democrats and Progressives say is to build more subsidized housing. What they don’t say is subsidized housing is costing almost half-a-million per unit.”
That’s right. According to Valdez, it costs nearly $500,000 to build an affordable housing unit. In the case of two projects in Seattle — one in Capitol Hill and one in Beacon Hill — a few hundred units cost $92 million to build, he told Dori.
“Paul Allen gave $30 million [for new housing for homeless]. That wouldn’t pay for one of these projects,” Valdez said.
Valdez argues that if the money being used to pay to build more affordable housing was instead used to help people pay rent, you could help more people.
But, Inslee sticks with the idea that we just need more housing and don’t need to know why it costs so much, Valdez said.
“He’s saying we don’t want to know, we just want your money.”
This is an example of inefficient government, Dori says. People are just profiting on taxpayers.
Listen to the entire conversation here.