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For the second time this month, a U.S. city has declared a local housing emergency in order to force new initiatives to stop the evaporation of affordable housing opportunities.
According to a KOIN.com report, the city council in Vancouver, Wash., voted to declare a housing emergency for local low-income households. Vancouver is the fourth largest city in Washington, and the council’s vote is seen as the first step in a process that will bring about a ballot referendum for a new affordable housing property tax.
Mayor Tim Leavitt supported the initiative and noted the city’s rent levels increased 11 percent in the past year and 38 percent in the past four years. The mayor also acknowledged Vancouver’s struggles in dealing with a homeless population.
“The challenge is … how do we address this issue as a community,” Leavitt said.
The Vancouver declaration is the second time this month that a city council voted to declare a housing emergency. Last week, the city council in Oakland, Calif., declared a local housing emergency and a 90-day moratorium on certain rent increases.