Housing Justice

Seriously Addressing Homelessness in Seattle 
"While I support the Mayor's commitment to allocate $5,350,000 in additional funding, we need to understand the scope of this action - $5 million is far less than one percent of the City's entire budget. It is a start, but it is in no way in proportion to the scale of the crisis. We must go further, and support every other budget amendment this year that we could possibly make in order to further homeless services and affordable housing." 

Transcript: my remarks on the Homeless State of Emergency 
"While I support the Mayor's $5 million commitment, along with every other budget amendment this year we could possibly make to further homeless services and affordable housing, we also have to be clear - this $5 million is far less than one percent of the City's budget, and is not in proportion with the scale of the crisis." 

Statement on Civil Emergency Proclamation - Let's Use the City's Rainy Day Fund to Seriously Address This Crisis 
"On November 3, 2015, one day after the Mayor issued a Proclamation of Civil Emergency on homelessness, I joined homeless organizers, social justice activists, and social service providers to deliver the following statement: Let's use the City's "Rainy Day Fund" to seriously address this crisis." 

Support Tenant Organizing and the Carl Haglund Ordinance 
"Tenants shouldn't be forced to the very brink by exploitative landlords and slumlords before they are informed of their rights, most importantly their right to organize. We need to double the funding available for organizations like the Tenants Union of Washington - organizations that provide outreach, education, and organizational assistance to tenants." 

Councilmembers Sawant and Licata on new legislation: No rent hikes for buildings with code violations! 
"On October 14, 2015, Councilmembers Licata joined me, Attorney Knoll Lowney, Osman Osman and Sahro Farah from the 6511 Rainier Tenant Association, Hana Alici of the Tenants Union of Washington State, and Sharon Lee of the Low Income Housing Institute to introduce proposed legislation to ban rent hikes in buildings that are not up to code." 

Building the Struggle against Slumlords 
"In response to notorious slumlord Carl Haglund's attempt at doubling the rent on the tenants of the Charles Street Apartments, a building wracked with infestations and 225 housing code violations, tenants reached out to my City Council office. Together with the Tenants Union of Washington and Councilmember Licata, we helped tenants organize into their own 6511 Rainier Tenant Association." 

Seattle Tenants Force Slumlord Carl Haglund to Back Off Rent Increases 
"With the help of Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata, and the Tenants Union of WA, tenants living in the Charles Street Apartments at 6511 Rainier Avenue South organized and fought back against appalling living conditions and circumstances. Together, they scored a major victory yesterday when slumlord Carl Haglund was forced to back off the rent increases, and promise to address housing code violations." 

How many affordable housing units will HALA Recommendations produce? 
"On July 20, 2015, I asked representatives from the Department of Planning and Development and the Office of Housing to provide Councilmembers with an accurate accounting of the net number affordable housing units that will result from the implementation of the HALA Committee's recommendations. We will not have an accurate assessment of the impact of the HALA proposals if we do not account for the epidemic of economic evictions currently under way in Seattle." 

Statement on the leaked Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee draft report 
"The leaked report from the Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee (HALA) shows how quickly the primary issue of affordable housing is sidelined when housing advocates are required to reach consensus with big developers in secret, closed door meetings." 

More than 500 People Attend Affordable Housing Town Hall 
"More than 500 tenants, housing advocates, and social justice activists packed City Hall on April 23rd for an Affordable Housing Town Hall organized by Councilmember Kshama Sawant and co-hosted with Councilmember Nick Licata. Watch the full forum here, or check out video highlights below." 

Another Victory for Transitional Homeless Encampments 
"On March 30, 2015, the Seattle City Council passed a long-overdue ordinance allowing the construction of three new regulated homeless encampments on public and private land. While fighting for this bill, I also introduced and won support for an amendment allowing the City to consider any plot of land for encampments, not just commercial and industrial zones. By agreeing to study all zones for potential encampment sites, the City Council is finally upholding the principle that we are all residents here, whether we have a roof over our heads or not." 

Share your rent-increase story with my office
Is your rent skyrocketing? Do you want to fight for your right to affordable housing?
You're not alone. There are hundreds, if not thousands, like you in Seattle, who are facing the prospect of an economic eviction. Please help us build momentum for expanding tenant rights in our city! Share your personal rent-increase story with us. Call my office at (206) 684-8018 or leave a comment at the bottom.

Congratulations to Tenants on Defeat of "Stepping Forward" Rent Hike Proposal
We need to use the momentum from this victory to build an even stronger affordable housing movement to win rent control and a massive expansion of quality publicly-owned affordable housing, in order to address some of the root causes of the affordable housing crisis in Seattle.

Victory for Transitional Encampments: One Step in the Fight Against Economic Inequality
A decade after the City declared its intention to end homelessness, the number of people living without shelter in Seattle continues to grow. Encampments such as Seattle's Tent Cities are a critical stop-gap measure for those who have been pushed into the streets by rising rents and stagnating wages.

Voices of the People's Budget: Sharon Lee on Affordable Housing
This is the first part in our series, "Voices of the People's Budget." On the evening of October 30th, labor leaders, community organizers, social service providers, and engaged citizens came together for a People's Budget Town Hall. Here they shared their concerns about the Mayor's business as usual budget and began a conversation about what is necessary to make Seattle affordable for all.

Letter to SHA Against Rent Hikes
Below is a letter I sent to Andrew Lofton, Executive Director of the Seattle Housing Authority.  It details my opposition to SHA's "Stepping Forward" proposal, which raises rents for low-income tenants.

Statement on Mayor Murray's Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee
Voices needed for an expansion of public housing, for a major increase in developer fees, for taxing the wealthy, and for rent control.

Support Occupy CEHKC's Plan to End Homelessness in Seattle
On June 22, 2014, I released the following statement in solidarity with the work of Occupy CEHKC.

Standing with the Bartons, Standing with SAFE Activists
I participated in a home defense protest alongside Standing Against Foreclosures and Evictions (SAFE), Washington Community Action Network (CAN), and Socialist Alternative.  As you know, Councilmember Licata and I have supported SAFE in their efforts.  The activists have continued their struggle all weekend, and it is crucial that the city do what it can to support them.