2017-10-20 — chicagotribune.com
Maybe no city could have built housing fast enough to keep prices from spiraling upward during Amazon's growth, but Seattle - despite nearly leading the nation in new apartment construction - hasn't come close.
On the sidewalks, alongside rentable neon bikes, people subsist in tents and sleeping bags in places locals say they did not congregate at 10 years ago - a warning sign for cities nationwide trying to capture a version of Seattle's glory.
"We don't have enough housing for low-income people especially, but we also just don't have enough housing," said Myers, a longtime Seattle housing advocate. "And Amazon obviously impacts both of those things."
Officials at Bellwether Housing, the city's largest nonprofit manager of affordable housing, at 2,000 units, report a vacancy rate of 1 percent. "It's very rare that someone moves out, because they have nowhere else to go," said chief executive Susan Boyd.
A state analysis of evictions found they were driven not by social problems but by economics. As Amazon's boom has continued, the city approved a rule this year requiring landlords to accept the first viable renter who applies - rather than cherry-picking a tech worker. The government also adopted an inclusionary zoning policy requiring developers to set aside some new units at below-market rates or pay into a fund to develop other affordable units.
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