Next Steps for 1,000 Homes!

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Dear fellow housing justice advocates,

Thank you so much for all of your great work on the Build 1,000 Homes campaign! In the last two weeks, our coalition of 65-plus organizations has called, emailed, and met with City Councilmembers to urge them to Build 1,000 Homes. We have succeeded in showing the Council that there is deep community support for our budget proposal, rooted in the devastation caused by skyrocketing rents, homelessness, and the lack of affordability.

Together, we have already made addressing the affordable housing crisis the centerpiece of the 2017 budget debate. The Build 1,000 Homes demand rang out loudest during the budget public hearing on October 25. This is an important accomplishment, and I congratulate each and every one of you for that.

We will be meeting on Thursday, November 10 at 6 PM at City Hall to discuss our next steps and how we will build for the final vote taking place on either November 15 or 16.

So far, Councilmember Mike O’Brien and I have signed on in support of our proposal to Build 1,000 Homes. It is very disappointing that the other councilmembers — Bruce Harrell, Rob Johnson, Lisa Herbold, Deborah Juarez, Lorena González, Sally Bagshaw, and Tim Burgess — have not joined in supporting this proposal, even though each of them has repeatedly affirmed their commitment to addressing the housing affordability crisis. In spite of the Mayor’s declaration of a state of civil emergency on homelessness, and the ever-worsening affordable housing crisis in Seattle, their inaction indicates that they would prefer that City Council avoid taking up even a public discussion on the 1,000 Homes.

But when ordinary people decide to stand up and fight for what’s just, politicians are forced to respond. Although most currently refuse to discuss 1,000 Homes, six councilmembers (including myself and Mike O’Brien), have co-sponsored a budget amendment to discuss allocating $29 million to affordable housing. This would, if approved, build 180 affordable homes based on the per-unit estimates given to my office by the Office of Housing, or up to 500 according to the estimates given to Councilmember Herbold by Enterprise Community Partners.

If we win the $29 million, this will be a victory directly based on the immense work we did and the pressure Seattle politicians are feeling from the strength of our coalition. But winning even $29 million is by no means guaranteed. Our coalition needs to keep up its work for 1,000 Homes for us to win any affordable housing dollars in this year’s budget.

But working people need urgent, bold and big action on affordable housing. We need all the 1,000 affordable homes built now. We will continue to move forward with 1,000 Homes in the next two weeks, as the City budget is debated and voted on. I will introduce it as a budget amendment on either November 15 or 16 at 9:30 AM at City Hall (we will let you know as soon as the vote is scheduled). We need to come out in force to urge councilmembers to vote Yes for Build 1,000 Homes!

And we need to keep up our advocacy by putting up posters all over Seattle, organizing “stand-outs” around town, calling and emailing councilmembers, and taking other actions.

Want to help build the fight? Join us at the next coalition meeting: Thursday, November 10, 6 PM at City Hall (enter the doors on Fifth Avenue in between Cherry and James Street). It’s crucial that we have a packed and energetic meeting!