Dear Council Members,
My name is Gabriel Bogart. I am a born-and-raised Seattleite. As a single, 41-year-old bartender, I can barely afford to keep living in my own city and within proximity to work. I pay $835/month for a shoebox of a studio apartment, one that would have cost maybe $500/month just a decade ago. I am certainly not alone. Many of my co-workers and friends struggle with affordable housing and since I work in the University District, I know many graduate students who are also battling with the issue of affordable housing.
So, I am writing to you today to plead, beg even, for a real change in the housing system and the lack of restrictions on developers and rent increases.
I would ask you to lift the ban on rent stabilization, legislation that is clearly outdated and is willfully ignorant to the issues of a rapidly growing city. Without some sort of rent control, Seattle could potentially be void of hard-working people who are in industries vital to the operation of a large urban hub. If those of us who don’t work for large tech corporations or make six-digit salaries can no longer afford to stay in the city, then who will be left to serve lunch or launder work shirts or deliver pizzas?
In addition, I would request, firmly, but politely, that there be a raise in minimum building requirements for affordable housing and in-lieu fees.
Just as important as maintaining affordable housing to retain a working-class infrastructure, this is also about not becoming an even more segregated city. Seattle could have the ability to be a world-class city, supported by a vast and diverse population. Unfortunately, it seems we are headed in the direction of creating a safe haven for a mostly white, upper class population. That is never something to strive for and will be completely and utterly unsustainable.
I thank you for your time and consideration, but most of all your action on the issue.
Gabriel Bogart, voter and citizen