by Kate Rubin
Housing is a basic human need and a fundamental right, yet for many renters, the dream of secure, stable, accessible, and affordable housing remains elusive. The imbalance of power between landlords and renters is glaring, and housing injustice disproportionately affects Black and Indigenous communities, with Black women facing greater risk of eviction than any other group. While Seattle and Washington State have taken steps to address this issue, renters and landlords will never have equal power.
Continue reading OPINION | Tenants’ Voices Loudly Dissented During City of Seattle Small Landlord Stakeholder Process
by Alex Garland
Tenants from the Columbia Gardens and Dakota apartment buildings, located in the Mt. Baker neighborhood, gathered in the small courtyard between the buildings on Oct. 22. Housing rights advocates and community activists joined for a rally in protest of alleged tenant abuse, ignored maintenance issues, lack of internet access, and lack of communication from management around changes made to community spaces. The issues tenants are experiencing caught the attention of the Tenants Union of Washington State (TUWS) and Be:Seattle, organizations that help protect and organize renters, and both helped coordinate the rally.
Both Columbia Gardens — apartments for senior housing — and the Dakota apartments are owned by SouthEast Effective Development (SEED), a nonprofit that owns more than 1,000 apartments in South Seattle with the aim of maintaining affordable housing in the area. These two properties are managed by Coast Property Management.
During the rally, employees from Coast Property Management sequestered themselves in an adjacent building and turned out the lights as the tenants approached the windows of the room where several were eating. As chants of “People Over Profit” echoed in the narrow space, tenants from Columbia Gardens stood on balconies and patios or joined their neighbors as they rallied.
Continue reading Residents at SEED Affordable Housing Properties Protest Poor Conditions, Rising Rents
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
Advocates for people experiencing homelessness challenged the ballot title for the “Compassion Seattle” initiative in King County Superior Court on Thursday, arguing that the short description of the proposal — which is what City of Seattle voters would see on their ballots in November — is inaccurate and “prejudicial” because it implies that the measure would guarantee new funding for housing and homeless services when it does not, among other reasons.
Continue reading Homeless Advocates Challenge ‘Compassion Seattle’ Initiative
by Jake Goldstein-Street
(This article was originally published on Capitol Hill Seattle Blog and has been reprinted with permission.)
The Seattle City Council unanimously approved “right to counsel” legislation Monday that will entitle residential tenants facing eviction to an attorney at no cost.
The vote on this legislation, sponsored by District 3 Councilmember Kshama Sawant, was originally scheduled for two weeks ago but was delayed via Council vote to sort out possible legal concerns. The original bill could have faced a lawsuit since it looked to give everyone the right to legal counsel regardless of income. Washington’s State constitution prohibits cities from giving money to people “except for the necessary support of the poor and infirm.”
Continue reading Seattle City Council Passes Sawant Plan to Fund Lawyers for Tenants Facing Eviction