Last Thursday evening I braved the (not-yet-existent) snow storm to go to the Housing is a Human Right panel hosted at the Seattle Central Library. It had a really good mix of panelists; Sandra McNeill from T.R.U.S.T. South LA, Elena Perian from the Benson East Support Group Board (a community in Kent), Andy Reicher from the Urban Homsteading Asstance Board (based in New York), and Wyking Garrett from the Africatown-Central District Preservation & Development Association (in Seattle). The panel was hosted by Mike O’Brien from the Seattle city Council, and Rebecca Saldaña from Puget Sound Sage.
The discussion gave a really good overview of some of the projects going on in and around Seattle, and putting those in context with approaches finding success in other cities. With Seattle and King County’s huge homelessness problem, and the difficulty in finding affordable housing (to rent or own) in the city, these are issues I’m particularly interested in.
Unsurprisingly, I found Wyking and Elena’s contributions to the panel the most exciting. They both shared stories of successes they’ve had with their work so far, and plans for future projects that seem like excellent options to have in Seattle’s housing development mix. With inventory in the area remaining extremely tight and the natural effects that’s having on the market, it’s great to see efforts targeted toward helping people stay where they are and retain ownership in their communities. Real estate is all about location, location, location, but healthy, strong communities are a lot of what makes a location.
The even capped off a year of discussion on the “housing is a human right” theme and was recorded for a podcast, so if you’re interested, keep an eye out for that. I highly recommend it, whether your interest is in housing, models of property ownership, or development in the Puget Sound region.