SHA’s “Stepping Forwards” Sends Tenants Two Steps Back
Just two years after Seattle Housing Authority announced its plans to demolish Yesler Terrace, they have announced yet another proposal that will severely impact Seattle tenants.
Titled, “Stepping Forward”, the Housing Authority is considering a plan that will gradually increase work-able tenants’ portion of the rent over five-six years until tenants are paying full rent, essentially kicking them out of SHA. This policy will apply to public housing tenants, section 8 voucher holders, and any other tenant living under SHA programs.
Under this proposal, after 5 years a tenant would need to earn almost $20/hour to afford a 2-3 bedroom unit. If a tenant cannot raise their income the rent will not be lowered, and tenants may face eviction or displacement. Even with a fully implemented municipal $15 dollar minimum wage this proposal will make public housing unaffordable for fulltime minimum wage workers. This policy will have a disparate impact on women, families and the immigrant and refugee community, and will force many to move outside the city. 70% of SHA households live in 2 or 3 unit households, and 51% are single parent households. 25% of all impacted households are immigrants and refugees. For the immigrant and refugee community this will severely harm newcomers who rely on community networks and familial support to succeed in a new country.
SHA’s announcement is representative of a pattern at Seattle Housing Authority which seeks to privatize our public housing resources. Just as SHA announces its plans to market Yesler Terrace off to giant tech firms that will further gentrify our city, its going to kick tenants off the subsidies they need to survive…during one of the biggest housing crises this city has seen.
Tenants across Seattle are not just going to step forward off a cliff. They’re fighting back! And they need your help!
This campaign needs all the help we can get. We’ll be using nonviolent direct action tactics alongside lobbying the SHA board of commissioners and our city officials. Get involved!