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Section 8 Tenants Organizing Project (STOP)
Founded in 1996 as a program of the Tenants Union of Washington, STOP is a group of tenants and supporters working to preserve and improve Section 8 housing and give tenants a voice in decisions that affect their housing stability. STOP uses outreach, education and organizing to develop Section 8 tenant leaders to preserve long term affordability for multifamily buildings, affect change in Section 8 policy, and raise community awareness about the Section 8 program.
Contract expirations, owner opt-outs and budget cuts threaten the safety and stability of thousands of low-income tenants in Washington who depend on the Section 8 program to make housing affordable to them. STOP tenants and supporters work together to:
- Educate Section 8 residents and the general public and about Section 8 housing
- Develop tenant leaders in organizing and advocacy
- Advocate for the preservation and promotion of Section 8 housing
- Secure a place for Section 8 tenants at the decision-making table
- Develop allies in the community who can assist tenant leaders in achieving their goals
STOP has organized in over 20 project-based Section 8 buildings, and has won substantial victories in the long-term preservation of many of those properties, including the Royal Hills Apartments, Security House, the Oxford, Eastwood Square, and the Benson East, which became the first tenant-controlled housing in the Northwest. STOP tenants also organized for the successful reform of local Section 8 voucher policy regarding grievance hearings and increased accountability with local decision-makers. STOP works to educate Section 8 tenants about federal and local changes in housing laws and policies. STOP also mobilizes tenants to push Congress and HUD to increase funding for Section 8 programs and increase accountability and transparency in local housing authorities to win just process and safe, healthy, and affordable housing for all.
STOP was instrumental in passing statewide Section 8 tenant protection legislation that requires property owners to provide notice to tenants, state and local jurisdiction one year prior to cancellation of federal subsidies, and to provide tenants with information about their rights. This was the TU’s first statewide legislative victory.
TU Victory! The Section 8 one-year notice law exists because members of the Tenants Union worked together and fought for it. If you have benefited from this law, go to Tenants Union Membership to find out more about becoming a member to support the TU’s work for housing justice.