In Microsoft country, technology has energized the economy, bringing enormous prosperity to tens of thousands of high-skilled residents. But it's also pushed up housing costs more than 20 percent during the last two years, making it harder for people with lower-paying jobs.
"Their income is not keeping up and over time they struggle to keep up with rents that are affordable with their income," says Mark Blatter, executive director of St. Andrew's Housing Group, a nonprofit organization started in 1989 by St. Andrew Lutheran Church, which still houses and supports it.
In its six projects, St. Andrew's has 190 apartments that are typically rented for hundreds of dollars less than market value. It's one of two such Lutheran ministries in the Seattle area: Lutheran Alliance to Create Housing, a coalition of 33 Lutheran congregations, provides housing for 200 people in 84 apartments.
"It's likely that a lot of these folks would be forced into substandard housing or crowded conditions if they had to pay a market rent," Blatter says.
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