by Hannah Krieg
Tenants rights counselor Julissa Sanchez read from her phone at the Cancel the Rent Rally at Othello Park on the afternoon of Saturday, June 5 . She said it would be easier to read without her sunglasses on, because if she took them off, the crowd of a few dozen would see her smeared makeup. Sanchez had been crying.
“The eviction moratorium is great — it has prevented unjust evictions …” Sanchez said. “… but it definitely did not prevent the thousands of thousands of dollars of rental debt that our people are in.”
Continue reading Activists Gather at Othello Park to Call for Cancelling Rent, Continuing Moratorium
by Ashley Archibald
Washington’s statewide eviction moratorium expires on June 30, leaving a large number of low-income and vulnerable residents at risk of eviction, even as they struggle to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
State and local governments stepped in to prevent evictions by passing new renters’ rights bills while the pandemic raged through Washington. Hundreds of millions of dollars have poured into rental assistance programs, largely from the massive federal government spending plan passed under the Trump administration.
The American Rescue Plan Act, passed in March under the Biden administration, will push those numbers higher.
But the scale of the need is huge.
Continue reading Communities on the Margins Brace for End of the Eviction Moratorium
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 Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
Renters across Washington state have existed in a kind of financial and legal limbo since mid-March, when Governor Jay Inslee issued the first statewide eviction moratorium, declaring that the temporary measure would “help reduce economic hardship and related life, health, and safety risks to those members of our workforce impacted by layoffs and substantially reduced work hours or who are otherwise unable to pay rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
At the time, no one knew how long the pandemic would continue or the impact it would have on the state and national economy. Since then, Inslee has extended the moratorium four more times, most recently in October, when he set a new expiration date of December 31.
But despite the moratorium, commonly referred to as an “eviction ban,” renters are still being evicted. Last month, nearly 40 people were evicted through the court system in King County, up from just eight in April. (We know the numbers for King County because they’re tracked by the King County Bar Association’s Housing Justice Project, but a similar trend is almost certainly happening across the state). Added to that are an unknown number of people who are informally evicted through methods that, while not technically evictions, still have the same effect, their numbers never counted in the total of people forced to move — or made homeless — during a worldwide pandemic.
Continue reading Despite Eviction Moratorium, Renters Are Still Being Evicted