by Ben Adlin
In a change meant to recognize the many ways that people interact with residential neighborhoods, the Seattle City Council on Monday, Oct. 4, voted to do away with the city’s “single-family” zoning designation and instead refer to the areas as “neighborhood residential zones.”
The new label is both more inclusive and more accurate, said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, who sponsored the ordinance along with Councilmember Dan Strauss. It’s also meant to reflect a more holistic view of neighborhood development as the City prepares a forthcoming 2024 update to its comprehensive plan.
“It’s past time to move forward with a name change to update our language so that our planning documents reflect the true character of Seattle neighborhoods,” Mosqueda said, which include “diverse housing, small businesses, and many different types of households.”
Continue reading Seattle Renames ‘Single-Family’ Zoning Designation to Emphasize Neighborhood Diversity
by Jasmine M. Pulido
Black trans women and nonbinary femmes are the most underserved population within the LGBTQIA+ community.
This is the reality that the Lavender Rights Project (LRP) knew but did not yet know how to effectively address after serving as a grassroots nonprofit law firm for the last five years. This September, on their five-year anniversary, after bringing Black trans women and femmes into new leadership to inform LRP’s strategy, they’re changing their mission to better hone in on this problem. While they still intend to be inclusive and serve the larger LGBTQIA+ community, they will center their work around Black trans women and nonbinary femmes moving forward.
“We are hoping to be inclusive of all LGBTQ in our services, but we see focusing in on Black trans women as a method to address all needs of the entire community. When we get it right for Black trans women, we get it right for everyone who reaches out to us for help,” Jaelynn Scott (she/her) said. As LRP’s executive director, Scott exuded a mix of fierce compassion that also somehow felt like a calming balm as she spoke about LRP’s future.
Continue reading The ‘Lavender Rights Project’ Clarifies Their Community Calling
by Andrew Engelson
Seattle City Councilmembers Tammy Morales and Teresa Mosqueda sponsored an online forum on July 22 to explore issues surrounding displacement and exclusionary zoning that could fundamentally change the way Seattle grows in coming decades.
Continue reading City Council Forum Addresses Displacement and Exclusionary Zoning
by Chetanya Robinson
During a June 16 town hall discussion organized by the 43rd District Democrats concerning Compassion Seattle’s proposed charter amendment on homelessness, critics who have personally experienced homelessness decried the details and general approach of the proposal.
As the South Seattle Emerald previously reported, if Compassion Seattle’s amendment passes in November, it would force the City of Seattle to carve a new approach to homelessness directly into its charter. Compassion Seattle is a coalition of nonprofit, business, and community leaders.
Continue reading Compassion Seattle Amendment Faces Scrutiny From Democratic Group and Homeless Advocates
by Jack Russillo
While Washington’s statewide eviction moratorium is set to expire at the end of June, Seattle’s eviction ban was extended last week through the end of September. This follows passage of other City Council legislation designed to help residents cope with recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday, June 18, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that the city’s eviction moratorium, which applies to both residential and commercial properties, would continue until Sept. 30. Earlier in the month, the Seattle City Council adopted other bills that give certain renters more protections, such as implementing a ban on school-year evictions for school workers and families with children and prohibiting evictions for nonpayment of rent due to financial hardship during the pandemic.
According to the most recent census survey data, about one in seven renters in Washington State feel that they are currently behind on paying rent, with Black (21.9%) and Hispanic (21%) populations disproportionately feeling financial difficulty staying caught up on rent. Only 9.8% of white renters throughout the state, however, feel that they are not caught up on paying for their housing. Additionally, 19.8% of households in the state with children under the age of 18 in the home responded to the survey that they felt they were behind on rental payments, while only 7.1% of households without children present felt they were behind on paying their rent.
Continue reading Seattle Eviction Moratorium Extended as Council Passes More Renter Protections
by Kevin Schofield
This weekend’s “long read” is a discussion of what happens to rental prices when developers build new market-rate housing.
There has been a raging debate the past several years among economists and housing experts on what happens when new market-rate housing is built in a neighborhood: Do rents in neighboring buildings go up, or do they go down? There are two schools of thought on this.
Continue reading Weekend Long Reads: What Drives the Cost of Housing?
by Bennet Vining
Growing up in Washington, I would often hear the “aspirational” success stories of white entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, paired with the line: “You can do anything with hard work!” Like many other young People of Color, I bought into this dream. But as I grew older, the dream was quickly washed away by the reality that our state only sets folks like Gates and Bezos up for success.
Many Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color experiencing poverty, especially during the pandemic, know firsthand that housing, education, and basic needs are extremely difficult to maintain without the generational wealth some Washingtonians were born with. Still, every day, we hear from the people around us that we just need to work harder, be smarter with our money, or learn how to invest. Usually, the people telling us this are white and painfully unaware of the way our economy has been quietly benefiting them and harming us.
Continue reading OPINION: Who Can Afford the American Dream?
by Kshama Sawant
Two years ago, working-class renters at the Bryn Mawr apartments in Skyway were stunned to find notices from their landlord tacked on their doors. The papers told them: Get out.
The landlord gave no reason for the eviction notices, because under King County law, he did not need to.
In danger of becoming homeless, the Bryn Mawr tenants fought back. They reached out to my socialist Seattle City Council office and, together with community groups, we organized a press conference to expose the landlord’s threat. Then we spearheaded a letter from 30 community leaders demanding that the landlord rescind the eviction notices. We made plans to deliver the letter and publicize it in the media.
Continue reading OPINION: Renters Must Get Organized to Win ‘Just Cause’ and Other Protections Against Eviction
by Ashley Archibald
A state commission that doles out debt financing for affordable housing projects is working with community members on reform after criticism that its method for allocating needed money leaves out communities of color.
The current point system used by the Washington State Housing Finance Committee (WSHFC) to assign bonds that help finance affordable housing projects has no allowance for Black- or POC-led projects and promotes less expensive studio and one-bedroom units that don’t work for larger families, critics said in a Feb. 25 meeting in which roughly 80 community members, organized by King County Equity Now, called in to express their anger and frustration.
The process ultimately excludes Black communities from access to appropriate affordable housing and homeownership and also Black developers and construction managers from participating in the government-backed program, said K. Wyking Garrett, president of the Africatown Community Land Trust (ACLT). ACLT had applied for financing for its Africatown Plaza project in the January round but did not receive funding.
Continue reading Housing Finance Commission Biased Against Black-Led Projects, Say Community Groups
by Ronnie Estoque
The love that the Seattle community had for legendary civil-rights activist Robert “Uncle Bob” Santos was in full bloom Thursday evening for the virtual groundbreaking of a new affordable housing development named after him. An additional Zoom overflow room had to be created to accommodate all the many community members in attendance. The CID-based InterIm Community Development Association (CDA) in charge of the development produced a video shown during the event that discussed Uncle Bob’s contributions to the neighborhood and details about the building, which is set to begin its construction in the second week of March.
Continue reading Virtual Groundbreaking of Uncle Bob’s Place Honors Legendary Community Activist