I can’t believe how hard it is to rent in Seattle! I am a divorced single mother of four. I am a Section 8 voucher holder, and have been one since January 2013. I had been on the wait-list for Section 8 for 6 years, only to find out that my “golden ticket” wouldn’t be accepted everywhere.
While looking for places I have noticed several things:
- There is not enough affordable housing in Seattle. I work full-time for a family non-profit and I make over $15/hour, and still I do not make enough to cover my rent, utilities and living expenses.
- Instead of making the necessary updates or enhancements to their property, required by the Section 8 program, landlords (slumlords) avoid Section 8 applicants altogether.
- Even though Section 8 voucher holders are a protected class in Seattle, many are discriminated against because of their Section 8 voucher. The city is not doing enough to holds landlords who discriminate against tenants accountable. During my housing search, I was told many many times that the landlords “don’t work with that program (Section 8)”
And at the end of the day landlords are outright discriminating against tenants with Section 8. Section 8 tenants are stereotyped as not reliable - even though Section 8 vouchers are probably one of the most reliable sources of income. Our city needs to do more to hold landlords who violate the law accountable.
Demetria Roundtree is a housing justice advocate and Washington CAN member.