On the Issues… Homelessness | Housing Affordability | Transportation
Homelessness & Public Safety
Homelessness and affordability are two of Seattle’s most pressing issues. We need to build more housing, remove complexity from our zoning codes, and restore some sanity to the conversation around Additional Dwelling Units (ADUs). We can do this while protecting our remaining industrial lands from development, as well as preserving a sense of character and creativity in our neighborhoods. I do not accept the zero-sum game of the current conversation around housing in Seattle!
We have a moral imperative to make sure no one is left behind as we continue to grow and thrive economically. I can think of no more pressing issue at hand than the struggle of my neighbors to be sheltered; to be able to afford permanent homes; to feel safe. Yet this very emotion is tearing apart civic discourse, and meanwhile folks are unsheltered and priced out of their neighborhoods. I have both the experience and the understanding to wade into this struggle and help bring about real change.
Formalize, Manage Tent Cities – Some people who are homeless sleep and live in public spaces because they have nowhere else to go. As the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rightly established, we cannot criminalize basic human needs. However, allowing people to live in our shared spaces is unsustainable. We must immediately establish centralized, managed tent encampments in each Seattle District as a first step to ensure our shared spaces remain comfortable to all.
Public Safety – The city’s paramount duty is to public safety. Our residents, both in and out of homes, need to be safe and feel safe. People who commit crimes, especially repeat offenders, need to take a break from society and be in jail. Being homeless is not a crime; assault, robbery, and theft are. Whatever the motivation, those who attack their neighbors need to be off the streets.
Housing First – Just as homeowners need to feel safe, our neighbors struggling with homelessness must also feel safe. Study after study has proven Housing First policies are the only effective means to provide housing-insecure and homeless people the stability necessary to reestablish themselves. We’ll work regionally to deepen private/public partnerships to expand current Housing First programs.
Government Alignment – Homelessness is a regional problem. As the 2017 McKinsey report found, 91% of people who are homeless in King County, became homeless in King County. I fully support and will champion the merger of Seattle’s and King County’s efforts to end this crisis.
Seattle is growing faster than ever, and with good reason: Seattle and the PNW is an amazing place to live. Our economy is diverse, with thriving marine, aerospace, and tech sectors. Our forests, mountains, and water are a natural playground. Climate change will push people north. We must allow more homes to be built in our communities. With the right policies, we can do this without sacrificing the character and creativity of our neighborhoods.
Form-Based Code – Establish and mandate an unambiguous “Seattle” architectural style to preserve and enhance the architectural character of our neighborhoods, ensure future generations a beautiful urban environment, and reduce political risk and bureaucratic delays to developers. The goal here is to speed-up the development and approval of housing projects.
Residential Zones – Allow 2,-3- and 4-unit dwellings in Residential Zones, ensuring they adhere to the “Seattle” architectural styles, are limited to two structures, and “look like” a single family home. These moves allow us to eliminate the convoluted ADU complexity from the Zoning Code.
Allow Simpler Types of Housing – Re-legalize rooming houses, co-op/shared apartment buildings, “apodments”, etc. while maintaining data-driven safety requirements
Remove Racist House Size Limits – Eliminate 20th Century racist housing policies that limited how many people can live in a residence. Greatly simplify the number of people who can legally live at a residence; remove family-relation requirements and set a simple, safety-based “per person per square feet” rule.
We need to make it easy to get around with a car. Seattle has grown by over 100,000 people in the last 9 years; it’s not as easy to get around now. But it’s not people that take up all the space; it’s the cars. Especially the ones just sitting around parked.
Bus Only Lanes – Seattle must designate more transit-only lanes in our city. We must turn Metro’s Rapid Ride lines into real Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) by creating physically separated Bus Only Lanes. Those lanes will also dramatically improve the on-time reliability and speed up normal Metro routes. To do this, we’ll need to remove almost all parking along Rapid Ride routes and install physically separate Bus Only Lanes on arterial Seattles in District 4 and Seattle.
Center City Connector – Approve and accelerate the Center City Connector streetcar for 2025 by raising taxes on downtown parking to close the recently-identified funding gap.
Green Streets & Sidewalks – Additionally, if we want to promote a more livable, walkable city, we need to complete a Green Streets sidewalk network. This size and type of investment desires a a bond measure.
Bike Master Plan – The Mayor has demonstrated she is ambivalent about alternatives to car transportation. The City Council must provide legislative oversight and ensures SDOT builds the Basic Bike Network, and makes real progress towards implementing the Bike Master Plan.