Affordable housing is right for the Ridge
June 20, 2012
Imagine Housing is proposing to build affordable apartments in an upscale Snoqualmie Ridge neighborhood, and some residents are up in arms.
The neighbors fear a low-income housing project will increase traffic, bloat classrooms at the schools, increase crime rates and decrease property values.
But this is affordable housing, not low income. Full-time minimum wage workers earn $18,800 annually — not enough to even qualify for a one-bedroom unit at $924 per month at the proposed complex.
This project is geared for the working poor, the folks who work at our hospital and clinics, casino and retail shops.
Ann Levine, executive director of Imagine Housing in Kirkland, told the Snoqualmie City Council on June 11 that renters would have to make two or three times the minimum wage in order to afford an apartment in Snoqualmie.
To qualify for a one-bedroom unit in Imagine’s proposal, a person’s income must be at least $23,760, but no more than $36,960. That’s $11.42 and $17.77 per hour, respectively.
While it’s hard to imagine living on an income of $23,760 with $924 per month going to rent, it makes sense for the para-professional bringing in nearly $37,000. And that person or family should hardly be put in the category of someone to be feared, someone who will strain police services due to increased crime in the neighborhood, or someone who will cause property values to decrease.
Quite frankly, it shouldn’t be assumed that low-income earners are prone to criminal behavior. Think Bernie Madoff.
Are more affordable housing options necessary in Snoqualmie? A quick look at craigslist provides the answer. Very few one-bedroom apartments are available, and most start at about $1,100 per month. The city recognized the need in 2009 when it restricted the 12 acres proposed for this project to affordable rental housing.
Snoqualmie Ridge neighbors need to get informed, and then put out a welcome mat to the new neighbors who are coming.