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.
The Washington State Housing Finance Commission has a lot of opportunities for first time and low income home buyers to help them get into homes. This kind of help can be especially helpful when trying to buy in the tough market in and around Seattle. For purposes of many of these programs, looking in these areas, low income means under $96,000 for the household.
To qualify for the programs, buyers have to take a five hour buyer education seminar. I’m one of their certified instructors for these seminars, and I’ll be co-teaching one with Joshua Horner of Caliber Home Loans at their East Lake location. The event will be from 11-5 and RSVP is required. Contact me if you’d like to attend – seating is limited, but I’ll start a waiting list if we fill up.
The first Creating Homes seminar was last Thursday at the Leary Traveler, and I’m quite pleased with how it went. It definitely wasn’t perfect (I need a different venue for next time!) but I didn’t expect to achieve perfection the first time. I think everybody who came got something out of it, and the feedback was enthusiastic and positive. I’m going to spend the next couple weeks taking notes and making plans, and then I’ll announce the dates for the next one.
Thanks to everybody who came out and spent their Thursday night helping me make something special.
You don’t have to look far to find news articles about how younger generations are approaching home ownership and household formation. This is definitely something I’ve seen in working with my clients. Gone are the days where every potential home owner is a member of a married couple with kids. I see friends, roommates, multiple families combining resources, just to name a few of the more common variations.
Breaking out of traditional molds to find a situation that works for you is awesome, but it can also be daunting. Most advice and infrastructure out there is built expecting a married couple with kids, and when you don’t fit that mold, it can be hard to figure out what to do.
That’s why I’m super excited to announce a pilot of a new seminar, “Creating Homes.” It’s meant to be a pragmatic informational session about the different options, challenges, and strategies out there for people who are doing something a little different. I’m especially pleased because Patrick McAuliffe is an accountant and most of the questions I can’t answer for my clients are of the, “You should talk to an accountant,” variety.
If you’d like to come, please to RSVP. I’ll look forward to seeing you there!