Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Community Groups Push To Have UW Include Affordable Housing In Its Master Plan

Paccar Hall at the University of Washington

Community groups want the University of Washington to build more affordable housing for low-wage employees at the school.

The university has updated its master plan and needs approval from the City of Seattle. The groups argue affordable housing should be a part of that plan.

The master plan is a blueprint for how the university intends to grow over the next decade. Within its existing boundaries, the school plans to add as much as 6 million square feet of new space.

The U District Alliance for Equity and Livability is a coalition of labor unions, the Sierra Club, the Transit Riders Union and other groups. They have submitted petitions to the Seattle city clerk so they can participate in the city council’s upcoming review of the plan. 

David West is part of the alliance. He said the city should require that the university build places for its workers to live as it grows and hires more people.

“We’re talking about a huge expansion here,” he said. “And as it stands, the university has made no provision in the plan for affordable housing for its employees.”

The groups say the university should be required to add more than 700 units of subsidized housing.

Sally Clark, the university’s director of regional and community relations, said that figuring out ways to boost the supply of affordable housing is important to the university, but it shouldn’t be included as a condition in the master plan. 

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.