The issue of unaffordable housing can easily be discerned as I travel to and from work on a daily basis. Seattle, as one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the world, has a well-structured downtown area with opulent office buildings. Beneath those buildings, however, one can readily find individuals experiencing the plight of homelessness as the rent and property prices of Seattle spiral out of control. For example, according to Zillow, a website that keeps track of national property values, Seattle’s median housing price is now $580,000 and has gone up by 17% over the last year. It is no wonder that places known colloquially as “tent cities” have sprung up in the Seattle area, where people struggling with homelessness live in tents as they cannot possibly afford the expensive rent and property prices in the city.
Beyond conducting research into affordable housing, working at Futurewise has given me an opportunity to experience formal office work and procedures. Ever since the first week, I have been attending meetings and learning about the procedures behind official business meetings. Furthermore, I have gained first hand experience volunteering for certain projects that Futurewise is affiliated with. One particular event that I thoroughly enjoyed was phone banking for a campaign known as Yes for Homes, a proposition that seeks to increase the Seattle housing levy in order to fund the construction of more affordable housing units. As part of my experience, I was tasked with contacting anonymous individuals within the city to encourage them to vote yes for this proposition in their upcoming ballot. Through this experience, even though I could not visualize the individuals I was talking to, it was still eye-opening to actively engage in dialogue with the Seattleites.
Working at Futurewise has imbued me with the experience and the ability to take on in-depth research projects that will contribute to solving the issues of homelessness and unaffordable housing within the city. I aim to fully use my time and enjoy my experience at Futurewise in my remaining 4 weeks and I look forward to meeting new individuals and crafting memorable experiences.
By: David Zheng