Sawant mounts pressure as deadline on Seattle eviction moratorium looms

Jun 15, 2021, 2:59 PM | Updated: Jun 16, 2021, 6:15 am
Seattle eviction moratorium, rent assistance...
Seattle apartment building. (MyNorthwest file photo)
(MyNorthwest file photo)

Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant is joining with a coalition of housing advocates to call on Mayor Jenny Durkan to extend the city’s eviction moratorium through the end of the year.

Seattle City Council approves trio of bills aimed at curbing evictions

Currently, both city and state-level eviction moratoriums are scheduled to expire on June 30. When last asked in early June about whether she intends to push that deadline, Durkan indicated that she wanted to dig into the data and coordinate with Gov. Inslee’s office before making a final decision.

Pressure has continued to mount in the meantime, after councilmembers unanimously approved a resolution urging the mayor and governor to extend their respective moratoriums. On Tuesday, Councilmember Sawant renewed that call, alongside plans for a rally on Thursday, June 24, at Cal Anderson Park.

“Mayor Durkan has a choice: She can stand with struggling renters and extend the eviction moratorium through this year, or represent corporate landlords,” Sawant said.

Several housing advocates have joined with Sawant as well, including representatives from the Seattle Renters Commission, housing nonprofit Be:Seattle, the Seattle Education Association, Nickelsville, and Real Change.

“Not extending the eviction moratorium is playing with people’s lives,” Real Change Advocacy Director Tiffani McCoy said in a written release. “We need immediate action to extend the moratorium and continue to strengthen tenant protections and create a massive fund for rental assistance so no one loses their housing.”

Seattle group voices concern over ‘tsunami of evictions’

This comes amid concerns that the end of eviction moratoriums in Washington state could lead to a sizable increase in homelessness and housing instability. Data cited from a U.S. Census survey between April 28 and May 10 indicated that roughly 82,500 people in the Greater Seattle area were behind on rent.

That had Kenmore City Council voting unanimously on Monday night to extend the city’s own eviction moratorium through at least the end of September, on the heels of testimony from Tram Larsen with the Housing Justice Project. According to Larsen, King County could be “looking at 120,000 to 180,000 individuals at risk for homelessness” if the state moratorium were to expire on schedule on June 30.

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Sawant mounts pressure as deadline on Seattle eviction moratorium looms