Dear fellow housing justices advocates,
Congratulations to you all! Our affordable housing movement scored a major victory yesterday! We forced the City Council to approve $29 million for affordable housing in the 2017-2018 Seattle budget.
Let’s be clear: We won this because we built our Coalition and a movement. We made it impossible for corporate Democratic politicians to ignore our proposal to Build 1,000 Homes by getting over 70 organizations and hundreds of activists to join the Coalition. We made hundreds of calls to Councilmembers, held rallies, collected signatures, and postered all over town. Coalition members held press conferences, shared Facebook posts, did standouts on overpasses and street corners, passed resolutions in Legislative Districts, and personally met with Councilmembers.
Because of your hard work, because we got organized and fought, City Councilmembers were forced to concede even though most of them were loath to do so. This is a major victory!
We should all thank Councilmember O’Brien and his staff for their solidarity, and let our friends and co-workers who followed the campaign know: The rest of the Council voted against 1,000 Homes. Despite our Coalition’s massive depth, at least 4,500 people living unsheltered, and our demands’ clear resonance within the community, the majority of Councilmembers refused to use public funds for housing — the very same public dollars they were willing to spend for a new police bunker in the North Precinct.
It is unconscionable to continue to prioritize an unnecessary new police precinct over the urgent needs of communities, especially people of color. Corporate Democrats built their own Coalition of 1,000 Excuses. We will need to continue to build our movement even stronger! Let’s build on our victory!
And while we celebrate the $29 million, we have a lot more work to do. The recent election of Donald Trump and the imminent threat he poses to immigrants, Muslims, women, LGBTQ people, and all communities of color, shows that we also may very soon need to struggle to defend our basic rights.
We will keep you posted about upcoming events, and encourage all of you to stay in touch about upcoming struggles.
The final budget vote will be on Monday, November 21st, at 2 pm. I encourage you all to attend, and let Councilmembers know that, while they supported the $29 million, it’s not enough. We’re going to continue to organize for affordable housing because ordinary people can’t survive our city’s skyrocketing rents.
The very next day, on Tuesday, November 22nd, at 12 pm, we will finally see Council vote on my bill to limit move-in fees, requiring landlords to provide the option of a six-month payment plan for the last month’s rent, fees, and deposit. I again encourage everyone who can make it to come tell Council to pass the bill with no loopholes!
Whatever it takes, working people of Seattle will keep building to fully fund affordable housing, human services, and beyond!