The board of Sound Transit voted to transfer 10 properties to the city of Seattle to build affordable housing and ownership opportunities for people making 80 percent of the area median income or less.
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), 80 percent of area median income in King County is $95,250 for a family of four.
The transfers will provide up to 150 units of affordable housing in Rainier Valley, near transit.
“The City of Seattle is making real on deep investments into communities that have been impacted by displacement,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement. “Our sky-rocketing rents, affordability challenges, our racist history of redlining, and more have forced many from our Black community and other communities of color out of our City.”
Rainier Valley has seen significant displacement of community members due to gentrification and increasing property values.
Gov. Jay Inslee announced a $40 million fund to support undocumented people in Washington who otherwise could not qualify for federal stimulus payments earlier in 2020.
The money comes from federal funds meant to help Washington workers who lost work because of the deadly coronavirus that is newly spiking in Washington and the United States as a whole. Eligible recipients will receive $1,000 with a maximum of $3,000 per household.
Many immigrants did not receive the $1,200 stimulus checks sent to most workers through the cares Act passed at the end of March. Additional stimulus has been stymied at the federal level, despite ineffectual tweets by the president calling for a more robust package.
Organizers called for a $100 million pot for undocumented workers, who make up the backbone of Washington’s agricultural workforce. Even that amount would not cover the estimated 75,000 workers with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN), a form of tax ID for people without Social Security numbers, much less every undocumented person in the area, organizers said.
Protesters caravanned to Olympia over the summer to call for support for Washington’s undocumented workers.
“This is an important step toward recognizing the critical role undocumented immigrants play in our economy and the fact that they have been excluded from all previous pandemic relief programs,” said Larry Brown, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
Estimates show that $25 million per month would be needed to cover expenses for undocumented workers in the state. California approved $125 million over the summer. Each undocumented worker received a one-time payment of $500 through that system.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC.
Read more in the Oct. 28 - Nov. 3, 2020 issue.