WHEN: Tuesday, May 15th, 4:30 pm
WHERE: 747 Market St, outside Tacoma Municipal Building
WHO: Tiki Tenants Organizing Committee
[email protected], @TacomaTenants
Tenants Union of Washington
Supporters of tenants’ rights
Donna Seay, 253-328-3840
Brian Skiffington, 253-370-3576
Tacoma is in the midst of a severe housing crisis. The city drafted recommendations to address affordable housing almost 10 years ago, but hardly any action was taken. Now things have reached a boiling point and renters are coming together to assert our rights. 40% of households in Tacoma pay more than ⅓ of our income on housing. We cannot afford to stay in our homes, and many of us are being forced out.
After a Seattle developer bought the Tiki apts, over 100 tenants were given just 25 days to leave their homes. Some of these Tacomans had lived in these apartments for over 30 years. Others had found Tiki as a refuge from the streets. “I have lived in the streets my whole life homeless because I had no choice,” said Donna Seay, former Tiki tenant. “Greed has become more important than a human being’s life. I will not stop but will build this movement until change is made permanently.” The tenants joined together and pressured the City to take action, and an emergency ordinance was passed to provide more time and relocation assistance. But we need permanent solutions.
This mass displacement is representative of a systemic issue. Tenants’ rights have not been adequately acknowledged, and we are here to call on all the renters of Tacoma to join us in the movement for tenant protections and just housing policies. We’re inviting you to sign on to our letter to show the Mayor and City Council that we need Just Cause eviction protections and rent regulation NOW! Residents have been left out of the decision-making, and it is time for our voices to be heard!
After the press conference, we will attend the City Council meeting to provide input on the Tacoma Mall sub-area plan. We commend that the plan has inclusionary zoning, which requires developers to build affordable housing for residents who earn 50% of the area median income ($26,000/year). This is a crucial step to getting more affordable homes in our region. But we NEED a city-wide inclusionary zoning policy. All new developments in the city must include housing for residents with the greatest need. This model has been used across the country, and it begins to reverse the policies that have historically harmed marginalized people, including communities of color, low income residents, and people with disabilities.