Statewide Call, November 20, 2019
Facilitator - Kiki
Who was on the call:
Qween’B (Seattle); Kiki (WLIHA), Curtis Stienheuer (Mount Vernon), Lisa Sawyer (Seattle), John (WLIHA), Shelley (Seattle)
- Qween B: There was an important council meeting in Seattle yesterday. City council had a lot of things on their budget. Qween spoke at the council meeting but wasn’t able to stay for the vote. They are trying to shut down a tiny village here, and that would put dozens staying there into homelessness and unsheltered in the winter.
- Lisa Sawyer: On the budget for city - real change is supposed to represent for the everybody poos campaign, which is the public toilets. Trying to reach out to the RAP members who are still in the city of seattle. Trying to keep contact with the ones that are to see which ones are available. NEXT MONDAY. RAP members in the area can help by attending that meeting and sharing the importance of this.
- Curtis Stienheuer. Winter shelter opens on the 25th in Skagit, and will run for 4 months. Format of the winter shelter is changing this year: they are utilizing the coordinated entry system with Community Action. This means they will be focusing on the most vulnerable, and they will have an option to have a permanent bed every night for some who are the most vulnerable. Only 25 beds. Welcome Home Skagit is working with Community Action, Skagit County and Mount Baker Presbitarian Church to look into opening up a shelter in east Skagit as well, and they are going through the logistics phase right now.
- Curtis also met with Rep Deborah Lekanoff (45th) on Friday morning. Had a discussion about the WA Low Income Housing Alliance legislative agenda, as well as a couple other items related to the rural tax credit issues happening there. Rep Lekanoff has lived experience being homeless as a single mother, is a tenant herself, and is generally very on board for just-cause and the installment-fee proposal. Real supportive for housing action fund. On the shelter issue, she is willing to put together a proposal finance / increase shelter funding. Funding could be used to bring buildings up to code
- Context to shelter issue: there’s a lot of stuff going on with funding. A shelter in arlington that is having budget issues. No longer has a facility of its own, doing it in the shelters. Shelter facilities in place need to be brought up to code. Drawback in fire sprinklers needing to be installed. Quarter of a million dollar to do that - eats up the funds for operating cost. Shes looking at a funding source at the state level to offset those costs. Same problem here in skagit - no permanent shelter and thats the main barrier to it. Lighthouse shelter mission in bellingham no able to expand to meet need
- In february - city of anacortes looking at a sales tax increase to affordable (.1% increase to be utilized specifically for affordable housing in anacortes) just got on the ballot this week. Has to be put to a vote of the people.
- John Stovall: There are ongoing conversations around the Fair CHance Housing Bill. This is the bill that would remove the landlords ability to deny an applicant due to criminal justice involvement (like the fair chance ordinance in Seattle). Landlord is legally not allowed to look at a background check. Got take to the courts. Been at the courts at the federal level, sent to the state supreme court that basically sided with the city of Seattle on this. News that came out just last week. Rental Housing Association lead plaintiffs on the case
- Another court case resolved on the same day, Seattle's first in time ordinance. Of all applicants to apply for a specific apartment, first qualified applicant has to get the application. Taking the element of bias out of the decision prices.
- Just cause passing in federal way
- Just cause is voting on it on december 9
- Save the date for the next Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day! It’s happening Monday, Feberuary 3, in Olympia Washington. This year the starting location will be changed because we had so many people last year we maxxed out capacity of the venue we typically use. This year, it will be at the Washintgon Center for Performing Arts, which is about 6 blocks from campus. Olympia has The Dash, which is a free shuttle through downtown to campus. We will also be uilizing some of the buses. The new location will fit over 900 people, so spread the word! You can download a flyer for the event off of our blog on website at www.residentactionproject.org. https://wordpress.com/post/residentactionproject.org/696
- 2020 Session Preview: Ending No Cause Evictions. We are just two months away from the start of session! Leading up to then, we are going to spend a little bit of time on each of our statewide calls to take a deeper look and highlight a different item from our 2020 legislative agenda. This week, we are highlighting SHB 1656, Ending No-Cause Evictions. In Washington State, landlords do not have to provide or describe a “cause” when kicking someone out of the home. The notice to vacate must be in writing and be served at least 20-days before the last day of the rental period. Although landlords aren’t legally allowed to evict a tenant for a discriminatory or retaliatory reasons, this “hidden” practice still happens all over the state because landlords are not required to describe a legitimate business reason for displacing the tenant.
- Some Washington cities have already created laws to end no cause evictions, including Seattle, Burien and Federal Way. And there’s precedent for entire states to pass similar laws as well, with both New Jersey and New Hampshire already having variations of a no-cause eviction law on the books. Other no-cause laws: Federal housing programs often provide “good cause” protection, which prohibits arbitrary termination of tenancy or refusal to renew a lease. Programs with good cause protection include: Project-Based Section 8 buildings and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties.
- No-cause evictions are a serious problem statewide because they:
- A) Directly force people out of their community and into housing instability and homelessness;
- B) Restrict renters' access to justice, bypassing the court system in which the renter could otherwise make an argument to keep their home;
- C) Makes tenants more fearful to organize or raise concerns with issues happening on the property; and
- D) Often hide underlying discrimination or retaliation by the landlord.
- Our Solution is Simple: Ban the practice of displacing people from their homes without cause! The details of the proposed bill will continue to be worked out leading up to and during the session. But at its roots, we’re calling on our elected officials to pass a law that requires a landlord to describe a legitimate business reason before forcing a tenant to vacate their home.
- Also, 20 day notice does not give anyone enough time to find housing, especially affordable housing. If you get a 20 day notice to leave, you have to. Because it by passes the courts you have to leave. Have to try a new place to live in 20 days. Some people are saying let’s just extend the notice time - Vancouver extended their no cause period to 90 days. But the issue is not just the notice period. Someone could be given a no cause notice and leave, but that could be for a retaliation. Landlords wanting to just get rid of tenants. Huge impact on people who are vulnerable anyway..
- Have you ever received a 20-day "no cause" notice to vacate your home? Do you know someone who has? The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance would love to connect with you and anyone who has experienced this loophole in our renter protections firsthand.
- With your help, we can make 2020 the year our decision-makers outlaw no-cause evictions in Washington.
- If you have received a no-cause eviction, we are asking for your help to go to www.evictedwithoutcause.com and complete the form on the page. We will follow up with you to learn more and discuss how we can build power to outlaw no-cause evictions! Please share the link widely, and if you have any questions or would like to learn more about our efforts, please contact John Stovall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Please note: If you’d like to have your question answered in a pre-recorded webinar, please send those to John Stovall at email@example.com before Dec. 12*
- 12/16: Advocacy works! Strategies for successful lawmaker meetings. (Mindy Woods and Michele Thomas). We need you! Your voice is critical to advancing state level housing and homelessness priorities! Learn tips and best practices to ensure your advocacy is strategic and as effective as possible!
- 12/23: Into the weeds: top 2020 legislative priorities! (Michele Thomas). Get into detail on top priorities for the next legislative session, including the Housing Trust Fund, tenant protections, eliminating the ABD shelter penalty and bills that will address the cost drivers and impediments to building affordable homes!
- 12/30: How a bill becomes law! (Michele Thomas and John Stovall). Review the step by step process of how we win new protections and secure budget appropriations for affordable housing and homelessness. Learn what we mean by "cut off" and which steps in the legislative process are most likely to kill a bill, and much, much more!
- 1/8 at 12:00 - 1:00. Register here. Messaging that works for the 2020 state legislative session! (Jamala Henderson and Michele Thomas). Get ready to talk affordable housing and homelessness in the most strategic way! Use messaging that will educate, energize and move lawmakers and community members on key 2020 housing and homelessness priorities.