Southend Community Braces for Ferguson Decision

by Staff Writer

Photo: Associated Press
Photo: Associated Press

While the entire nation awaits a St. Louis County grand jury’s decision on whether or not to indict police officer Darren Wilson- who fatally shot 18 year old Michael Brown- the southend community has already braced for potential fallout from the announcement. Continue reading Southend Community Braces for Ferguson Decision

No More Victims: Bringing Safety to Rainier Valley’s Streets

by Kevin Lugo, Adam Blumenthal, Julia Trippel, Shana McCann, Phyllis J Porter, and Paul Wirsing

Wiki Photo

You’ve seen the news: Rainier Ave and MLK Way are dangerous. The entire Rainier Valley is dealing with tragedy and loss in the wake of major “accidents.” Vehicles have gone through shops. 10 people were hospitalized after one collision. A 7-year old girl was sent to the hospital after a September hit-and-run and is still recovering.

People in the Rainier Valley have demanded change for years; plans to apply a road diet to Rainier date back to the 70s. SDOT traffic engineer Dongho Chang is confident it can be implemented successfully, and SDOT is finally moving forward, promising implementation by Spring 2015. Last week they engaged the community to discuss a greenway from Mt. Baker to Rainier Beach. This week SDOT Director Scott Kubly promised a hundred passionate community members that “We’re going to do a safety project. We need to make Rainier Ave safer.”

SDOT’s last feedback session was 11/18. You can still submit your feedback to SDOT online. Tell them we want a road diet. No, tell them we need it. Together we must demand change. The lives of our friends, family, and children are at stake. Every day lost in another roll of the dice. Who will be the next victim?

This Weekend In South Seattle: Hear the Untold Tale of the Duwamish, Follow The Pied Piper to Mount Baker and Recieve a Message From Guinea

Events this weekend in the South Seattle area

Friday, November 21st

Movies: Opening of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Details:Katniss Everdeen is in District 13, after she literally shatters the games forever. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss spreads her wings as she fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage.Showings: 12:00pm, 3:45pm, 7:00pm, 9:15pm, 9:45pm –Where: 4816 Rainier Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98118 – More Info: Continue reading This Weekend In South Seattle: Hear the Untold Tale of the Duwamish, Follow The Pied Piper to Mount Baker and Recieve a Message From Guinea

Demonstrators Say “Stepping Forward” is Two Steps Back for Low-Income Seattle Residents

by Ariel Hart

Demonstrators gather in front of the offices of the Seattle Housing Authority.
Demonstrators gather in front of the Seattle Housing Authority building. Photograph: Celia Berk

The energy was palpable Monday night as tenants and activists marched through the streets of Lower Queen Anne towards the Seattle Housing Authority Building.

Protestors packed the Board of Commissioners meeting demanding the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA), take the so-called “Stepping Forward” program off the table.

If passed, the new initiative will raise rents by over 400% in the next five years for “work-able” tenants. Estimates project that tenants will have to make between $16-$20 per hour to keep up with the rising costs. Families who are unable to meet the increasing financial demands could face eviction.

Currently, SHA rent prices are determined by household income, ensuring that no more than 30% of tenants’ incomes are spent on housing costs. Yet, the Stepping Forward program would make rent unaffordable for over 7,000 households.

Though the proposed plan incorporates “job training” and ESL classes, it fails to address the underlying structural barriers that low-income families face in gaining reliable employment. Many SHA households have poor access to childcare, educational opportunities and are subject to institutional discrimination when trying to find a job.

Photograph: Celia Berk

According to Tenants Union organizer, Denechia Powell, SHA efforts to educate tenants about the policy have been sorely lacking. Though a quarter of SHA residents are immigrants, there has been little targeted outreach to these groups in particular. 

Demonstration attendee, Dr. Gary Perry, expressed his disgust with SHA’s plan and its recent partnerships with powerful developers like Vulcan. “The gentrification we see happening today is more aggressive, [now] public entities are allowing developers to have a land grab.”

Though SHA has framed this policy change as an opportunity to “provide more people access to safe, decent and affordable housing”, in reality, this policy will result in the continued gentrification of Seattle, and displacement of low-income residents.

While the Board decided not to vote on Stepping Forward until early 2015, tenants and activists are committed to continuing to hold these “public servants” accountable.

Ariel Hart is a graduate student at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health and an anti-racist activist.

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