Anita Adams and Family

December 15, 2022

More than five decades ago, Anita’s family moved from the Deep South to Seattle, looking to find work and start a new life. Anita always dreamed of one day owning a house near where she grew up. After years of saving money while working as a city employee, she eventually bought that home. In doing so, she became the only homeowner in her entire extended family. Yet now, the city won’t let her build a home next door for her own family—unless she first pays exorbitant permitting costs.

Anita is a proud, prominent member of the local Black community. Over the years, she has seen how it is increasingly difficult for people in her community (and other historically marginalized groups) to own their own home in Seattle—largely due to city policies that, however well-intentioned, in practice favor those with deep pockets. Upon learning that the city would charge her a $77,000 permitting fee just to build a house for her family, Anita met with other Black homeowners and renters across Seattle who told her similar stories and who, accordingly, are moving away. But Anita is not keen to let the city run her family out of town.

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