Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. and many Seattle residents would agree that they’ve seen evidence of this boom over the past decade. Unfortunately, this growth and prosperity has not met everyone. Community members who are working for minimum wage with growing families, on fixed incomes, or are out of the workforce are often taxed with the challenge of finding and keeping stable housing. This problem only gets more severe as prices continue to increase. Seattle’s homeless crisis has reached a peak—it is now the third largest homeless population in the country, only behind major metropolitan cities Los Angeles and New York.
To help combat this crisis, GeekWire has partnered with Seattle Foundation and Bank of America for the annual Geeks Give Back campaign. This year’s giving campaign benefits organizations who are working toward progressive and innovative solutions to help combat the homelessness and affordable housing crisis.
The Housing Development Consortium (HDC), one of the beneficiaries of the Geeks Give Back Campaign, works on the basis of this collaborative approach. HDC is an association of local nonprofits, housing authorities, businesses, financial institutions, and more who advocate for effective policies that foster affordable housing communities.
“Our role as an association is to serve our members. Our 170 members are a diverse array of organizations who serve different King County communities in different ways from homelessness services to homeownership, from funders to frontline staff. They work with refugee communities, older adults, those dealing with drug dependency, families of all ages and sizes, and all the different sub-communities that enrich our region with diversity,” says Marty Kooistra, HDC’s Executive Director.
According to the King County Housing Affordability Task Force, the Seattle area is currently short 156,000 affordable homes in Seattle, including those who are homeless or paying more than one-third of their income toward housing. This same task force projects that this shortage will only become more severe—with over 244,000 additional homes needed by 2040 in order to address the county’s housing needs. HDC is working to make this demand become a reality.
The team at Bank of America sees this as one of the most urgent challenges facing the Seattle community today. Kerri Schroeder, Seattle Market President of Bank of America shares: “There’s a real sense of urgency around the need to do something about homelessness and affordable housing in Seattle. Housing is fundamental to other economic development markers like employment, public health, high school graduation rate, and crime rates. It’s one of the basic pillars needed to create stability in the community. And it really is something the community needs to come together on to ensure that we tackle this once and for all”.
Donations to the Housing Development Consortium will provide capacity building initiatives and leadership development training to local member organizations who are working to end homelessness. It will also allow for HDC to expand its policy and advocacy work so that homelessness and affordable housing are addressed on a system-wide level. “Supporting policy work has the ability to provide significant leverage across multiple organizations who are working to end this crisis,” says Marty.
If you want to help combat homelessness in Seattle through better policy, considering giving to HDC this season. Your dollars will help support over 170 local member organizations in their efforts to provide direct service to those experiencing homelessness who need it most.
Don’t wait—the Geeks Give Back campaign closes December 6th.