21 May Message from the ED: May 2016
The week of March 16 to 22 marked the first Annual Affordable Housing Week.Everyone in our community deserves a safe, healthy, and affordable home. Without the security that such a home provides, it can be incredibly difficult for residents of our county to work, learn, stay healthy, and contribute to their communities. The problem is significant: Just in the last month The Sophia
Everyone in our community deserves a safe, healthy, and affordable home. Without the security that such a home provides, it can be incredibly difficult for residents of our county to work, learn, stay healthy, and contribute to their communities.
The problem is significant:
- Just in the last month The Sophia Way received 66 phone calls from women desperately seeking safe shelter.
- In King County, 4,505 individuals were found sleeping outdoors during the 2016 One Night Count.
- During the 2014-15 school year, 7,260 students across the county were homeless. Some of these students sleep in our Eastside Emergency Winter Shelter and wake up and go to school, and return again at 8:30 at night to our shelter only to do the same thing the next night because there’s not enough housing.
I worry what will happen to these women and families when our emergency shelter closes on May 30th. It doesn’t mean that the emergency is over.
An additional 127,000 households in our county are paying more than half their income for housing costs, resulting in housing situations so precarious that life events such as the loss of a job, a medical emergency, or even just a vehicle needing repair could easily push them into homelessness.
Across King County, cities are working to address these issues by preserving affordable housing, adopting incentive zoning programs, and directly funding the creation of new affordable homes. I know that, with cities, school districts, and community organizations working together, along with the County, we can sustain and expand on these kinds of policies.
That is why The Sophia Way and several other organizations and agencies have asked our local cities and King County to recognize the need to preserve and increase affordable housing in our communities by participating in Affordable Housing Week 2016, beginning with a pledge to officially declare May 16 – May 22 “Affordable Housing Week”. By working together to bring attention to the importance of affordable housing and by discussing potential policy solutions for our own local context, we can turn the tide to ensure all people have access to a safe, healthy, affordable home in all of our communities.
Angela Murray, Executive Director