In TIME’s February 18 article “Millions of Tenants Behind on Rent, Small Landlords Struggling, Eviction Moratoriums Expiring Soon: Inside the Next Housing Crisis,” writer Abby Vesoulis outlines the looming housing crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic effects and the Biden administration’s plans to address them through the lens of struggling low-income renters and small landlords in the Seattle area.
To illustrate President Joe Biden’s campaign proposal to build new public housing communities that vastly improve upon the current, dilapidated public housing stock, CLPHA Board President & King County Housing Authority Executive Director Stephen Norman described one of KCHA’s public housing communities that embodies this future vision of what public housing could like and discussed how rent subsidies provided by PHAs help to insulate their residents from the direst effects of economic crises:
Greenbridge, a housing community in unincorporated King County just south of Seattle’s city limits, is something of a model. It has 325 subsidized housing units scattered among hundreds of other affordable homes. Families from different socioeconomic groups share parks and more than five dozen public art installations. The subsidized residents are shielded in periods of economic duress: they pay up to 30% of their income toward rent, while public-housing authorities pick up the remainder. If a resident’s income declines because of a layoff or reduction in work hours, their monthly rental burden follows suit. The system is designed to boost residents out of poverty and to prevent their children from falling into the same trap. “We like to say that if we’re raising the next generation of public-housing applicants, we failed,” says Stephen Norman, the executive director of the King County housing authority, which developed the project.