We need at least a hundred buildings like the Clay, the Liberty Bank Building, and other community-controlled affordable housing. So as we celebrate this morning, I also urge the residents of the Clay and all community members to join with our movement to fight for an expansion of the Amazon tax, which we won last year, to tax the richest, biggest companies in our city in order to fund a lot more projects like this one.
March 23, 2021
Dear Clay Apartment residents and housing justice advocates:
As the socialist city councilmember representing this district and a
long-time fighter for affordable housing, I welcome each and every one of
the community members who beginning today will call the Clay Apartments their new home.
I congratulate LIHI for tenaciously working to bring the vision of the Clay
Apartments to reality, with local, state, and federal public funding. Over the
years, LIHI has been a leader in developing affordable housing, along with
tiny house villages, to provide homes and shelter for thousands of people. I
congratulate LIHI Executive Director Sharon Lee and all of the LIHI staff for
Seattle’s deep housing crisis has only been worsened by the global
pandemic, and the capitalist recession that has accompanied COVID has
particularly harmed working people, people experiencing homelessness,
and marginalized communities.
Seattle has been the construction capital of the US several years in a row,
yet the vast majority of what has been built is high-end luxury apartments
that the majority of working people, and disproportionately people of color,
can’t afford. This building, in fact, was going to be a market-rate, for-profit
apartment, but thanks to the intervention of the workers at the City of
Seattle Office of Housing and LIHI, today it is affordable, not-for-profit
housing for those who most need it.
Working people in Seattle desperately need more affordable housing,
which is why it is so exciting to be here today for the ribbon cutting
ceremony. Today is a demonstration that it’s possible to develop and build
affordable housing in Seattle, to provide quality homes for everyone who
needs them. With the Clay, 75 individuals and couples will now have
homes. But thousands more community members still don’t have housing.
They are living on the streets, in shelters, in cars and RVs, while the top
CEOs in our city have reaped billions during the pandemic.
We need at least a hundred buildings like the Clay, the Liberty Bank
Building, and other community-controlled affordable housing. So as we
celebrate this morning, I also urge the residents of the Clay and all
community members to join with our movement to fight for an expansion of the Amazon tax, which we won last year, to tax the richest, biggest
companies in our city in order to fund a lot more projects like this one.
Housing is a human right, but we will not win housing for all by simply trying to persuade the political establishment. It will take a powerful community movement to demand and win the funding we need, by taxing big business to build a lot more of these homes and massively expand public-owned affordable social housing.
Welcome home! I celebrate with you today, and look forward to working
with each and every one of you in the months ahead as we fight to win
affordable, quality, publicly-controlled housing for all.
Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant