Seattle has announced the purchase of three new downtown buildings initially designed to provide 165 apartments to tenants on the free market. The units will now be purchased with tax dollars and used to shelter homeless persons.
The buildings are being acquired by the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) for about $50 million. The purchase price is divided between city taxpayer funds and federal COVID allotments from the “American Rescue Plan Act.”
Seattle’s leftist Mayor Jenny Durkan claims that purchasing the buildings will house homeless people cheaply compared to constructing housing for that purpose. She said that the upscale apartments should be occupied before the end of the year.
Durkan has enacted and extended Seattle’s “eviction moratorium” six times, as the city’s homeless problem has exploded during the COVID pandemic. Homeless tent camps have cropped up on public property throughout the city.
One lifelong resident told PJ Media that Seattle has been “enabling the homeless” for many years, which has worsened the problem. The resident added that the local government had turned the city into “a place that rivals a third world country” where the homeless are now more dangerous than gangs.
The three buildings purchased are in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and were permitted for construction in 2019 before the pandemic began. They were designed to contain studio apartments to meet the then-booming demand for downtown housing by young workers moving into the city to take high-paying tech jobs.
Taxpayers are funding an average purchase price of $305,000 per unit for the newly repurposed homeless shelters. Taxpayers will subsidize the rents for the buildings, and no tenant will be expected to contribute more than $600 per month.
Of course, as soon as Seattle moves the homeless into the brand-new buildings initially designed to attract young residents who would have likely become lifelong city taxpayers, more homeless will surely take up the space left open in the parks and on the streets. How long the city will depend on taxpayers to supply the cash for these projects remains to be seen.