Invest in Community by Bringing Social Housing to Seattle

Y-WE is invested in the collective healing of our communities. We strive to create a safe space for young people and adults as we learn, grow, and thrive in community. A critical part of healing and thriving in communities is being free from the stress of survival mode. How can we expect young people to dream, create, learn, imagine, and grow – when their basic needs are not met? 

Y-WE serves young people from all backgrounds – centering BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ youth who often experience society’s greatest inequities. Over the past few years, we have witnessed the effects of the rapid cost of living increase in Seattle. When we began operating as an independent 501c3 in 2015, the average rent in Seattle was $1340. Now, the average rent in Seattle is over $2600. Over 75% of low-income Seattle residents are rent burdened (paying more than 30% of their income on rent), and many of our participants fall into this category.

For the past two years, Y-WE has offered something called the Dream Fund, in efforts to provide financial assistance to our participants and alumni who are chasing their dreams – attending college, starting a business – pursuing something they are passionate about. A majority of the youth and alumni who applied for the Dream Fund asked for basic needs support, specifically rental assistance. This is a devastating example of how Seattle’s financial climate is preventing young people from being able to thrive. Our community is being priced out of Seattle, forcing them to move further away from their support systems. Many of our youth are commuting up to an hour to attend our programs and events. This is not sustainable.

We need innovative solutions to address the housing crisis in Seattle and surrounding areas. That’s exactly what House our Neighbor’s Ballot Initiative 135 is setting out to do. This initiative will bring social housing to Seattle. Social housing is a public owned, government and bond subsidized model that aims to house people, not extract a profit. Rent is not determined by market value, only by building costs and upkeep. Social housing will be available to a larger group of people than current affordable housing is. Individuals with extremely low income to middle-to-high income will be able to access social housing, and rent is designed to match their income. To learn more about how this will be paid for and how it will be maintained, watch this video from House Our Neighbors.

Supporting the social housing initiative will open up more opportunities for our young people and their families to access services like Y-WE who support their well-being. Part of healing and thriving in communities is being able to afford to live in the community that you work in, play in, go to school in, and more. Our communities deserve the chance to step out of survival mode and step into their power, harness their creativity, think outside the box, and make an impact in our world. 

Seattlites should have received their ballots and can vote on initiative 135 before February 14. Click here to see those who support this initiative, including Y-WE and many of our partners and sponsors.

Join Y-WE and invest in a better future for young women*
*those who identify as women, girls, trans, non-binary, or gender expansive