Saturday, November 05, 2016

City's Lack Of Protection Against Source Of Income Housing Discrimination Results In The Boot For All Section 8 Tenants In One Seattle-Area Apartment Complex

In Renton, Washington, KING-TV Channel 5 reports:
  • It's happening at the Renton Woods Apartments on Petrovitsky Road in Renton.

    "We have children that are going to be out on the streets," said Elimika James, a single mother of five. "Just to know that we're going to be homeless, it's not a good feeling."

    James and every other tenant with a Section 8 housing voucher got an eviction notice on their door, giving them sixty days to vacate their apartments. For James, that quickly approaching deadline is October 31.
    The Tenants Union of Washington(1) is now working with Renton Woods neighbors, trying to help find a solution. They held a meeting [] to discuss tenants' options and next steps.

    "Giving them 60 days notice is technically legal. However in this rental climate, especially for people who are voucher holders, it's extremely difficult to relocate in that time period," said Hana Alicic with the Tenants Union of Washington.
    "I think we're all aware that there are some things that are legal but are still unethical and still feel wrong," said Alicic. "In this case, Renton doesn't have any source of income discrimination protection."

    Renton Woods Apartments issued the following statement to KING 5:

    "The Renton housing program is elective and voluntary, after due consideration, Renton Woods has chosen to withdraw from this elective program."
    The Tenants Union said they would like to see Renton city leaders pass legislation that protects against income-based discrimination.

    Seattle recently passed similar legislation. In parts of unincorporated King County, according to the Tenants Union, if a tenant is on a Section Eight housing voucher, a landlord cannot legally say they won't accept you because of that voucher..
Source: 'Children are going to be out on the streets': Section 8 families get eviction notices.

For a story update, see Renton apartments withdraw eviction notices:
  • Property managers have withdrawn their eviction notices for dozens of residents at two Renton apartment complexes. Now families can stay put at the Renton Woods and Grammercy Apartments until further notice.

    Advocates of tenants rights got involved after the landlords made moves to evict low-income residents who use Section 8 housing vouchers to help pay the rent. The landlords told residents they were choosing to opt out of the housing voucher program. But again, those evictions are on hold.
See, also, New Renton ordinance prohibits discrimination against low-income renters (Renton City Council approved an ordinance banning discrimination against renters who participate in the federal Section 8 program).
(1) The Tenants Union of Washington State is a Seattle-based social services organization that promotes tenants' rights through empowerment-based education, outreach, leadership development, organizing, and advocacy.

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