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Seattle Public Housing Residents Will Rally To Keep Rent Hike Plan In The Spotlight

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Ashley Gross
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KPLU
Organizers at the Tenants Union of Washington State, which is helping organize public housing residents to fight the rent hike plan

Seattle Housing Authority residents will rally Monday in protest of the agency’s plans to raise rents for some tenants, and some of them plan to testify at the housing authority’s board meeting where they'll ask the agency to drop the plan.

Ever since Seattle Housing Authority announced the plan last summer, public housing tenants have been working to fight it. Under the proposal, adults who are able to work would no longer have rent set as a percentage of their income. Instead, it would jump every couple of years until it reaches a cap that’s below market rate.

After raucous public hearings, the issue has faded from the spotlight.

Denechia Powell of the Tenants Union of Washington State says the rally is planned as a way to let the SHA board know there’s still a lot of opposition.

"Tenants don’t want SHA to get comfortable, because we know it’s getting toward the holiday season, so it’s important to continue escalating," Powell said.

Seattle Housing Authority says it’s evaluating feedback gathered from the community and has not set a date for a vote by the board.

The agency has said the changes are needed to adjust to expected future federal budget cuts and to help provide housing to more people currently on the waitlist. SHA says it would connect residents with job training, but critics say the amount of the proposed rent increase is unrealistic. 

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In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.
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