ACTION ALERT: Contact Seattle City Council to support the head tax

Right now funding for affordable housing and homeless services is in jeopardy. The head tax proposal, which would bring in $75 million a year by taxing big businesses like Amazon, is going up for a vote as soon as May 14. Mayor Jenny Durkan is siding with Amazon and pushing for less funding for affordable housing.

CAN YOU CONTACT MAYOR JENNY DURKAN TODAY?

You can use this sample text below, or your own story to send to jenny.durkan@seattle.gov or you can use this email form!

Mayor Durkan:

With an unprecedented number of homeless deaths so far this year, action on the homelessness crisis should be your and the City’s highest priority.  Delay has unacceptable costs.  Councilmembers and diverse stakeholders worked for months to craft Progressive Business Tax legislation that is a real response to this crisis, raising $75 million per year for housing, shelter, and services.

It is shocking and disappointing that after all this, you propose a plan that would build a mere 250 units of housing over five years.  This is not a serious plan.  In fact it is an irresponsible plan, because it will fail to make a meaningful impact, and five years from now hundreds more homeless people will have died and we will still be in the midst of a state of emergency.

The people of Seattle, and the businesses of Seattle, want to see results.  As the McKinsey report recently confirmed, that means major new resources and low-income housing on a large scale.  We cannot accept legislation that is just another bandaid, because it fails utterly to address the severe affordable housing shortage that is the major driver of homelessness in our region. $40 million is simply too low.

We cannot let Amazon drive our public policy or force cities into a race to the bottom.  Progressive cities like Seattle must demonstrate that a cutting-edge tech economy can deliver equity and dignity for all. Right now we are failing. If we continue to fail, more extreme social and political polarization are inevitable.

I call on you to support $75 million/year legislation that will fund thousands of units of new low-income housing, in addition to expanding shelter and services to keep people safe and alive today.

Sincerely,


Then call and email your councilmembers today! If you aren’t sure who your district councilmember is, click here to find out. 

Everyone should reach out to both CM Teresa Mosqueda and CM Lorena Gonzalez, who represent all of Seattle, letting them know you appreciate their support of the head tax. Then reach out to your District councilmember to thank them, if they support the head tax, or urge them to reconsider, if they don’t support the head tax. We make it clear below which councilmembers you should thank for supporting the head tax, and which councilmembers you should urge to support the head tax. 

At-Large Councilmembers

Thank CM Teresa Mosqueda  (At-Large Position 8) - 206-684-8806
Thank CM Lorena Gonzalez (At-Large Position 9)  - 206-684-8802

District Councilmembers

Thank CM Lisa Herbold (District 1 - West Seattle, South Park) - 206-684-8803

URGE TO SUPPORT CM Bruce Harrell (District 2 - Rainier Beach, Beacon Hill) - 206-684-8804

Thank CM Kshama Sawant (District 3 - Capitol Hill)  - 206-684-8016

URGE TO SUPPORT CM Rob Johnson (District 4 - U-District, Ravenna) - 206-684-8808

URGE TO SUPPORT CM Debora Juarez (District 5 - Northgate, northern most part of Seattle) - 206-684-8805

Thank CM Mike O'Brien - (District 6 - Ballard, Wallingford, Fremont, Phinney Ridge) 206-684-8800

URGE TO SUPPORT CM Sally Bagshaw (District 7 - Queen Anne, Belltown) - 206-684-8801  
 

Issaquah tenants fight back against unjust evictions

Violeta was losing sleep after her property manager told her she would be kicked out of her home if she let her teenage son continue to live with her. 

Why, after nine years of living in this federally-subsidized apartment building, was Violeta getting 10-day notices to kick out her son? Well, her son had just turned 18, so technically was deemed an unauthorized tenant. The property manager insisted he had caused "issues" like parking slightly outside a parking space. But the image she attached on the notice made this "issue" look confusing to Violeta. How could something so minor warrant an eviction?

That's when Violeta began hearing from her neighbors that they too were getting surprising and unreasonable 10-day notices from the manager. Tenants say, the property manager was doubling their rent, or threatening eviction after a tenant was behind on rent by $1. Yes, one dollar. 

Violeta was joined by one of our organizers when she attended a meeting with the property manager trying to clear up the situation. But the property manager insisted Violeta would need to vacate if she wanted to keep her son at home. When Violeta asked where she was supposed to go, the property manager gave her a list of homeless shelters. 

Violeta took action and worked with Washington CAN to organize her neighbors and march on the property management office. Tenants and advocates delivered their own 10-day notice on April 10, urging the property manager to put an end to Management, and demanding a meeting with Imagine Housing, which owns the building, and FPI Management, which manages the building. 

Craig and his grandmas

Dozens showed up, tenants and advocates, to show their support.  The offices of two congressional candidates for the 8th District, attended to show their support. Candidate Shannon Hader and a representative from Kim Schrier attended in solidarity.  UFCW 21 and PSARA representatives also attended in support. Violeta's son was supported at the action by both of his grandmas, and reporters showed up to cover the story. 

We expect the owners and management company to respond by April 20, but hope they get back to us quickly, since tenants are currently under grave duress, afraid they will lose their homes. Help us put pressure by sharing this story on Facebook and with your friends and neighbors. 

KIRO bought $1,000,000 in medical debt for $12,000

Seattle TV station KIRO 7 made its own news this year when it purchased and then forgave $1 million in medical debt. 

The kicker, though, is that the station only spent $12,000 to buy off that debt. Yes that's right: debt that is worth millions to poor folks struggling to access health care, is worth a fraction of that cost to the people who make money off debt. 

Washington CAN member Joelle spoke to KIRO's Jesse Jones about how medical debt was keeping her family in poverty, and forcing her to make a decision between life with lifelong debt, or death. 

Since KIRO first aired its story on medical debt, the news organization has started up a fundraising page to help pay off the medical debt of other struggling residents. 

Check out KIRO's original segment: