News Releases

Senator Murray Spotlights Collaboration to Address Housing Affordability in Puget Sound Region

Apr 06 2007

Murray, Nonprofit housing developers, Puget Sound Regional Council announce task force to identify real solutions to the housing affordability problem

(Seattle, WA) - U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) convened a roundtable discussion in Seattle today (4/6/07) to focus on the issue of housing affordability and the challenges facing the Puget Sound Region. The event, which was held at the YWCA's Opportunity Place in downtown Seattle, was the beginning of a new partnership between local nonprofit housing developers and the Puget Sound Regional Council, led by Bob Drewel. Key business leaders from around the region participated in the event in an effort to form consensus on the problems and move toward solutions.

Increasingly, working and fixed-income families find it difficult to call the Puget Sound region home.

"I am continuously hearing from teachers, seniors, young families and service industry workers about the high cost of housing in the Puget Sound area," said Senator Murray. "We can't allow these residents to be priced out of Puget Sound neighborhoods. It's clear to me the region must come together to define the problems and possible solutions. That is why I am pleased to join today with housing advocates from throughout the region to stand up for those in need of affordable housing."

"At least 150,000 more affordable apartments and homes are needed in King County over the next ten years, more than twice what is available today," explained Sarah Lewontin, President of the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County. "Skyrocketing housing prices aren't just a Seattle problem. The four county region needs to work collectively to preserve livability and create places for everyone to live."

Leaders talked with Senator Murray about how the issue of affordable housing is closely tied to other critical regional issues, such as transportation, economic and job growth, protecting the environment, and maintaining a strong quality of life as the region grows.

Tom Tierney, Executive Director of the Seattle Housing Authority stressed the important role that housing authorities can play in meeting this challenge. "Our mission to serve very low-income people remains the same, but we also want to make it possible for more people in Seattle to live near their jobs. We are acquiring and creating housing to make this possible."

Senator Murray supports the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle King County and the Puget Sound Regional Council for having the vision to create the Regional Housing Task Force. This collaboration will identify real solutions to the growing affordability problem. The task force will be co-chaired by Rita Ryder, President of the YWCA Seattle and Co-Chair of Prosperity Partnership and Bill Longbrake, Vice Chairman of Washington Mutual.