Seattle Tenants Force Public Housing Not To Raise Rent
By James Tracy, San Francisco Community Land Trust
Public housing tenants are celebrating the Seattle Housing Authority’s (SHA) decision to retract a controversial plan to raise rents by more than 400 percent in the coming years. The “Stepping Forward” plan, announced last September, was immediately met with stiff resistance from tenants mostly organized through the Tenants Union of Washington State (TUWS).
In November, about 200 tenants of SHA buildings marched down Queen Anne Avenue to protest, then descended on the regularly scheduled SHA Board of Commissioners meeting, and spoke out about fears of displacement and homelessness if the plan were to be implemented.
Commented TUWS leader and public housing resident Lynn Sereda, “We do remain vigilant, but consider this to be a victory for tenants, and our attention is now focused on making sure that the new appointments to the Board of Commissioners of SHA will be accountable to tenants and that we will have a voice in that process.”
In a December 16th letter to Mayor Edward Murray, SHA Executive Director Andrew Lofton cited the fear among tenants that, “there were many questions and concerns about the availability of living-wage jobs for low-income people.” The agency opted to...