Transit Riders, Unite!

The Transit Riders Union is an independent, democratic, member-run union of transit riders organizing for better public transit in Seattle, King County and beyond. Through our organizing efforts we won a low income fare! We invite you to join us and fight for the future of public transit!

Housing For All Budget Accomplishments

November 27, 2017

Big Business Tax for Housing, Coming in 2018

This fall, the Housing For All Coalition set out to secure a commitment from our elected officials to massively step up the production of new housing affordable to people and families with the lowest incomes. We are on the road to victory.

On Monday, November 20, shortly after approving the 2018 budget, the City Council unanimously passed a Resolution 31782, establishing their intent to tax large businesses to fund housing and homeless services by the end of March 2018.

While the tax didn’t pass this fall, as we’d hoped, we now have an opportunity to push for additional progressive revenue and a much larger package than the $25M originally proposed. New sustainable revenue at this scale is the kind of game-changer that has been so lacking in the two years since Seattle declared a Homelessness State of Emergency. Without the work of the Housing For All Coalition, the City Council would not have the courage to stand up to relentless opposition from business groups like the Chamber of Commerce and commit to raising real revenue to address the crisis.

Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to this effort so far. TRU and the Housing For All Coalition will be there every step of the way as this legislation is crafted over the next several months. Let’s bring it home in the new year!

Steps Toward Stopping the Sweeps

This fall we also set out to reform the City’s policies on removal of unauthorized encampments, a.k.a. sweeps. We called for outreach and services to be provided without threat of removal, unless an encampment site is irremediably unsafe or in conflict with other public uses of the site. Without housing to offer, the City is merely shuffling people around and doing more harm than good.

Although we weren’t able to achieve this policy shift during the budget process, the City’s 2018 budget includes measures that will add new transparency and accountability to removals of unauthorized encampments. Henceforth the City Council will receive weekly reports of all sweeps planned for the following week, with reasons for their prioritization. The City’s ability to put up fences, such as those erected beneath the Spokane St. Viaduct earlier this month, will be restricted. And next year, responsibility for encampment removals will be shifted from the Finance and Administrative Services to the Human Services Department.

While these measures fall short of “stopping the sweeps”, new layers of oversight are likely to significantly improve the situation on the ground for our homeless brothers and sisters. With continued monitoring by the Office of Civil Rights, the Housing for All Coalition, and other allies, we are setting the stage for further-reaching reform next year.

More Budget Victories!

A number of additional goals of the Housing For All Coalition were achieved this fall:

  1. $450,000 to support authorized encampments. This funding will provide more adequate support to existing authorized encampments and tiny house villages, and make possible the establishment of two new sites.
  2. $500,000 for a Homeless Youth and/or Young Adults Opportunity Center and Housing Project at Broadway & Pine on Capitol Hill.
  3. $150,000 to fund exploration of community ownership housing models.
  4. Passage of a tax on short-term rentals such as AirBnB, with at least $5M per year going to fund the Equitable Development Initiative to support community-driven projects.
  5. $750,000 to expand the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program to north Seattle.
  6. $1.3 million for Seattle’s first safe consumption site.

Now is the time for HOMES – Take Action!

October 14, 2017

Councilmembers Mike O’Brien and Kirsten Harris-Talley speak to reporters in the Sam Smith room at City Hall on the morning of Thursday, Oct. 12. Photo by Casey JayworkOn October 12th, Councilmembers Mike O’Brien and Kirsten Harris-Talley held a press conference calling for a massively stepped-up response to the homelessness and housing crises, and proposing a big business tax to raise over $20 million per year in new revenue to tackle these twin crises. The plan is called HOMES – housing, outreach, and mass-entry shelter.

Although this is still not nearly enough to create all the housing and shelter that’s needed, it is a solid start. And it’s about time. The Transit Riders Union has been pushing the City to use this progressive tax authority for years, but the answer we’ve gotten from our elected officials is always: it’s not the right time. Nearly two years into an officially-declared Homelessness State of Emergency, the City has yet to act like we’re in an emergency. It’s time for all hands on deck, and that means everyone, including large businesses that are benefiting from Seattle’s booming economy while so many of us are left behind.

Here are three things you can do to make sure the HOMES plan succeeds this fall:

The HOMES tax is just one of eleven things the Housing For All Coalition hopes to accomplish during the city budget process this fall. Take a look, and if you agree, please tell the Councilmembers that you support the Housing For All campaign’s budget priorities!

Help Our Homeless Friends in Nickelsville

September 23, 2017

Help Nickelsville Ballard secure a new location with enough space to keep their community together and shelter more people. Send a quick email here!

Join the Housing For All Campaign

September 19, 2017

HousingForAllSeattle.org

  • Check out the coalition’s platform here
  • Sign up for campaign updates or to volunteer here
  • Email City Officials to express your support here

Get involved! Attend an Action Meeting: Every Saturday, 2-5 PM at the Frye Apartments community space, 223 Yesler Way.

Housing For All Campaign Kick-Off: Saturday, Sept. 9

September 1, 2017

Event on Facebook

2:00 – 4:00 PM
(doors open 1:30)
Labor Temple Hall 1
2800 1st Ave

It’s been two years since the City of Seattle declared a Homelessness State of Emergency, and the homelessness crisis has only deepened. This year’s One Night Count found 3,857 people sleeping unsheltered in Seattle alone. The City’s response to this crisis isn’t working, in large part because it fails to reckon with the shortage of deeply affordable housing. City policies end up punishing homeless people rather than giving them a leg up.

This is unacceptable. Things need to change, and there’s no better time than now. Our elected officials and all the candidates for Mayor, City Council, and City Attorney need to know where the people stand.

On Saturday, September 9th, join the Housing for All – Stop the Sweeps Coalition for the launch of our fall campaign. Learn about the homelessness crisis and what’s we’re going to do about it. And sign up to get involved – we can’t succeed without you!

You’re Invited: Tax Justice Victory Party, July 30th!

July 19, 2017

We won!!!

Just six months after the Trump-Proof Seattle Coalition began our campaign for tax justice, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved a 2.25% tax on income in excess of $250,000 ($500K for joint filers), to protect against Trump budget cuts and fund vital public services.

Our grassroots campaign has made waves around the country. The right-wing Freedom Foundation, sensing a threat to the entrenched privilege of the very wealthy, has promised to sue. We say bring it on. When we organize, we win!

You’re invited to celebrate this victory with us. There will be food, drink, speeches, music, a photo booth, and great company. Southside Commons is wheelchair accessible, and there’s a beautiful park right outside. See you there! (You can RSVP and share the invitation on Facebook.)

Victory Party
Sunday, July 30
3:00 – 6:00 PM
Southside Commons, 3518 S. Edmunds St.
Two blocks east of Columbia City Light Rail Station
One block west of Route 7 stop on Rainier Ave.

Who Should Lead Seattle?

June 7, 2017

The people, of course! But who should be our representatives in City Hall?

Last month TRU sent nine questions to the candidates for Seattle Mayor, City Council Position 8, and City Council Position 9. Many of them responded. You can read their completed questionnaires here.

On Thursday, June 22, TRU is co-sponsoring a candidate forum with other transportation and housing organizations. Come hear directly from the candidates:

Growing Seattle: A Candidate Forum on Transportation and Housing
Thursday, June 22
5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Impact Hub Seattle, 220 2nd Ave S.

Pack City Hall for a Progressive Income Tax on June 14

June 7, 2017

On Wednesday, May 31, we unfurled banners bearing thousands of petition cards around the whole perimeter of the council chambers, while an “overwhelming number of people” spoke in favor of a progressive income tax on Seattle’s wealthiest households to fund urgent needs.

This week we are putting the finishing touches on the legislation, and next Wednesday, June 14th, there will be a special council meeting and public hearing where the councilmembers discuss the ordinance for the first time and the people have a chance to testify having seen it.

So far we’re making all the right enemies: the Washington Policy Center, Freedom Foundation, Republican legislators in Olympia, Rob McKenna, the Seattle Times editorial board… but we don’t know who else might come out of the woodwork next Wednesday. It’s up to us to show our councilmembers that we have their backs as they consider this groundbreaking legislation:

Special Meeting & Public Hearing on Progressive Income Tax

Wednesday, June 14
5:00 PM Council Discussion
Public hearing to follow
Council Chambers, Seattle City Hall