file photo

file photo

Housing and finance insiders call for subsidized housing families can own, instead of rent

Advocates say increasing homeownership will strengthen the community, build intergenerational wealth

The Housing nonprofit, Homestead Community Land Trust, hosted a seminar on Sept. 22 with housing advocates from municipal government and financial institutions who advocated for a greater focus on increasing home ownership in communities in King County.

Mark Santos-Johnson, the community development & housing manager for the City of Renton, said the value of housing in King County markets is growing at rate much higher than what many working families can afford, risking the displacement of folks in these communities, particularly for low income demographics and people of color.

“People that work in the community should be able to afford to live there.” Santos-Johnson said.

A strategy commonly taken by local governments is to subsidize the development of affordable rental housing. Santos-Johnson said this method is problematic because it leaves certain individuals and families to only aspire to be lifetime tenets instead of homeowners. He said homeownership is important because it helps build wealth and economic mobility, especially for BIPOC communities.

Corporate Responsibility Specialist at JPMorgan Chase’s Office of Nonprofit Engagement, Carla Strickland, said homeownership is good for the entire economy. She said homeownership is “crucial” in building the strength and stability of a community, and allows for the accrual of intergenerational wealth.

President and Chief Executive Officer of Verity Credit Union, Tonita Webb, said homeownership in general is heading in the wrong direction thanks to a housing market that has priced out many lower-income homebuyers. She said after decades of policies and financial practices that were decided to exclude certain communities and demographics from homeownership, many BIPOC community members do not see owning a home as something they could feasibly achieve.

Webb said equity, in this case, requires a “breaking of the system” and the policies that created the market we are currently in. She said financial institutions need to change how they view risk and to “stop calling communities risky” and to instead begin investing in them.

During the seminar, all three of the industry insiders advocated for increased partnership between public and private agencies in order to provide subsidized housing for families to own, rather than to rent.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Sixty students in the Kent School District have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since Oct. 1, including six at Kent-Meridian High School. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District
Kent School District reports 60 COVID-19 student cases so far in October

First released report with student, staff cases at each school

t
Kent City Council adds $500,000 for sidewalks to 2022 budget

Also favors $200,000 to pay homeless people to remove graffiti

Stock photo
Kent man killed by train while standing on tracks

Oct. 20 near the 700 block of First Avenue North in Kent

t
Enrollment drops again in Kent School District

A decrease of 1,304 students this year compared to September 2020

Geographic dispersion of Washington State Patrol commissioned personnel who lost their jobs Oct. 18. (Washington State Patrol)
Rather than get vaccine, nearly 1,900 state workers lose jobs

Exactly how many people will be out of work for ignoring Gov.… Continue reading

t
SeaTac girl faces additional hit-and-run charges

Same driver who reportedly killed Maple Valley jogger also injured man in Des Moines

King County Courthouse adjacent to City Hall Park (courtesy of City of Seattle)
County council votes to take dangerous park out of Seattle’s hands

City Hall Park, next to the courthouse in downtown Seattle, has had multiple reports of crime.

Most Read