As a Tacoma tenant whose rent has risen by 16% in recent years, I know that our housing system is broken.
Tenants live at the whim of landlords and developers, whose aim is to squeeze as much profit from them as the market can bear. Month after month, the exodus of the poor continues as Seattle developers buy buildings, evict the tenants, and raise rents. Many of these tenants are poor, disabled, and in recovery and have nowhere else to go. Homeless or pushed far out of reach of public transit, they have a harder time getting to work. For many, a lack of stable housing threatens their sobriety.
At the same time, our politicians tout their “affordable” housing initiatives while giving tax breaks to developers to build unaffordable housing. Ask anyone making minimum wage: “Can you afford the ‘affordable’ housing?” The answer will be “no.”
What’s the point of “affordable” housing you can’t afford?
In our district’s majority-minority neighborhoods, such as the Hilltop in Tacoma, people of color and the poor are being driven out by gentrification. Task forces have been convened and politicians have wrung their hands, but precious little has been done to stem the tide of long-time Hilltop residents leaving their homes. We must act decisively to protect our neighborhoods and their rich cultural heritage.
Also as a result of rising rents, homelessness is at crisis levels. In Aberdeen (population: 16,000), 1,000 people are homeless and 100 are sleeping in an encampment by the river.
This crisis can’t continue. I am an activist with the Tacoma Tenants Organizing Committee, which has achieved substantial victories for tenants. In Congress, I will continue to fight for:
Unlike my opponent, I reject money from real estate developers and the banks who fund them. Always. Only a candidate uncorrupted by real estate money can fight for tenants and the homeless.