On 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:
- CALL the councilmembers. Talk to their staff or leave a message saying you support the HOMES tax and plan. You can find phone numbers and a sample message here.
- EMAIL the councilmembers. You can send a quick form email here, or find email addresses and a sample email here.
- PETITION the councilmembers. At the second Budget Public Hearing on November 1st, we will be delivering a petition in favor of the HOMES plan. Print this PDF of the petition sheet, ask people you know to sign, and bring the sheets to a Saturday Action Meeting, 2-5pm at the Frye Apartments, 223 Yesler Way; or mail to Transit Riders Union, PO Box 20723, Seattle 98102.
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!