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
by Mark Van Streefkerk
Seattle’s housing crisis disproportionately affects BIPOC communities, and of those groups, queer, transgender, and two spirit (2spirit) people are impacted even more. In response, Queer The Land (QTL) was founded in 2016 as a collective of QT2BIPOC resisting displacement and gentrification. One of their long-term goals was the acquisition of a house, and on Jan. 15 the goal was realized when QTL purchased a three-story house in north Beacon Hill. The home will be a hub for transitional housing, coworking, community spaces, gardening, and other opportunities.
Continue reading Queer The Land’s New Beacon Hill House Will Provide Housing, Healing, and Community for QT2BIPOC
by Mark Van Streefkerk
Andrew Grant Houston, AIA, Founder and Design Head of House Cosmopolitan and Board Member of Futurewise, officially announced his run for Mayor on Jan. 12, and he is clear about the cornerstone of his campaign: housing. The queer, Black, and Latino architect and small business owner has a vision for meeting the demand for affordable housing in Seattle, and is eager to share just how housing is directly linked to climate justice and defunding the police by 50%. Houston serves as Interim Policy Manager for Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, and is a member of AIA Seattle, Share The Cities, The Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council, The Sunrise Movement, and the 43rd Democrats. He plans on contributing a portion of the campaign funds he receives to mutual aid groups he has worked with over the last year.
Houston, also known as “Ace,” recently spoke with the Emerald, telling us about his background, and the immediate actions Seattle needs to take in the next eight years to curb climate change. Check out his website at agh4sea.com.
Continue reading Q&A: Mayoral Candidate Andrew Grant Houston Shares His Vision for Seattle, Starting With Housing and Climate Justice
by Ashley Archibald
In a video posted to YouTube, a woman in a blue surgical mask stands in the corner of a walled-off yard, a puffy, slate gray jacket zipped against the cold. To her right is a table draped with a white cloth holding 19 votive candle holders. Slowly, deliberately, the woman reads a list of names.
In the silence following each name, a man lights a candle.
Continue reading A Hard Year for Those Without Shelter: Death Rates Rose and Pressures Increased for the Homeless During the Pandemic
by Mark Van Streefkerk
The Gardner House and Allen Family Center, a one-stop service hub and permanent housing solution for families leaving homelessness, kicked off their three-day Virtual Grand Opening on June 24. Community members are invited to virtual tours, a Q & A with muralist Kenji Hamai Stoll, and a Meet the Families segment, culminating in a virtual block party on Facebook at noon on Friday, June 26, featuring Seattle Seahawks DJ Supa Sam.
Continue reading Mount Baker’s Gardner House and Allen Family Center Offer Permanent Housing and Resources For Underhoused Families
by Reagan Jackson
Rainier Beach is the new gentrification ground zero. I have a front row seat. I recently celebrated my seventh anniversary of being a homeowner. I have watched my neighbors get foreclosed on and pushed out. I have watched the house flipping teams come through and trim up the yards, slap up new fences, and paint over bright color with the neutral blues and grays white people seem to prefer. When I walk through my neighborhood now, it’s a lot less like the vibrant diverse place I chose to live in and a lot more like Pleasantville.
Continue reading The Displacement Tax: An Update from Gentrification Ground Zero
by Susan Fried
The Liberty Bank Building holds the history and the future of the Central District within its walls, a building that stood on the corner of 24th Avenue and Union Street for 50 years. The site where this new building stands once hosted the first Black-owned bank west of the Mississippi, which opened in 1968, and witnessed years of gentrification in this historically Black neighborhood.
Continue reading Liberty Bank Building Unveils Interior and Exterior Art, Accepting Housing Applications Nov. 1