Seattle Rent Suspension Now
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Following the lead of a petition begun in Portland we demand that: all Seattle metro area rents be suspended immediately until the COVID-19 crisis passes, until there are tests that show this is no longer a threat posed to all of our communities.
The COVID-19 crisis has ground the economy of the Seattle area to a near total halt. The working class, service industry workers, events workers, artists, musicians, retail workers, etc. are having hours cut down, sometimes cut completely until the crisis passes and business picks back up. We are being told not to go to work. We are being told to stay home. We are being told there's no business. We are being told for the sake of the community and to contain the virus, not to go to work.
In the meantime, how will we pay our rent?
How will we pay mortgages?
How will we afford basic things like groceries, heating, and utility bills?
We applaud Mayor Jenny Durkan for freezing eviction proceedings & utility shut-offs temporarily, but we say that is not enough!
We need a rent suspension! We need a mortgage suspension!
We need a comprehensive plan to help workers and small businesses through this crisis.
"You are failing us at every turn when you put private financial interest above the common good of all people. We believe it is our common good to create an area-wide rent freeze now, not later, not next month, but now.
Without work, without sick days, many of us will not be able to afford our rents come April 1st. We will not be able to afford this rent retroactively. We will not have this money at some later date. We are hard-working people who barely have enough to pay one month’s rent at a time." (We The Undersigned in Portland)
1. Total suspension of all rental, mortgage, utility bills, court fines, civic fees, and property tax payments in the Seattle area until the crisis has passed. Applicable to all individuals and small businesses. That does not mean a deferment or payment plan. It means cancellation of all aforementioned debts incurred throughout the crisis.
2. A Crisis and Aftermath Plan that addresses covering costs for affected individuals and small businesses in need. Many will face a catastrophic loss of income in the coming weeks and months. The city and the state of Washington need to step in, take the lead nationwide, and offer cash assistance to struggling folks and small businesses. Without the normal requirements of unemployment benefits, which as they currently stand would leave countless stranded financially.
3. A total halt of all homeless camp sweeps, statewide. As well as all publicly owned buildings currently vacant to be converted into low-barrier homeless shelters indefinitely. With comprehensive healthcare and food assistance offered to all residents of the new public housing facilities.
4. A robust increase in the social safety-net available to the citizens of Seattle and Washington as a whole, covering food assistance, social housing, rent control, slashing regressive taxes in favor of progressive income-based taxation, and an expansion of free public healthcare to cover every resident with comprehensive quality care, so such a crisis becomes a thing of the past!
5. Immediate stoppage and abolition of ICE, and youth detention programs. Release of at-risk prisoners detained in city and state jails and prisons.
6. Immediate stoppage and cancellation of all parking tickets, noise violation fees, and all other punitive measures the city, state, and police use to squeeze money from their most vulnerable, cash-poor constituents.
7. All punitive action against Dr. Helen Chu be blocked, cancelled, and she instead be praised for her ethics. She defied state orders and tested for COVID-19 before much was known about its existence in Washington state. Her actions saved countless lives.
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