South Seattle’s representative on the City Council Tammy Morales joined a group of western Washington officials this week calling on Gov. Jay Inslee and the state’s legislative leaders to call a special session in Olympia in support of rent and mortgage cancellation and accessible health care as the COVID-19 crisis continues.
“I know I’m not alone in losing sleep over this,” Morales said in the online conference. “All of us who are here today have called for the same thing in our communities because we’ve been hearing the same stories across Washington state. This movement gets to the root of the problem that eviction moratoriums, forbearance, and payment plans just can’t solve. You can’t pay rent during the mortgage crisis or mortgage during a crisis if you don’t have money and mortgage rent and cancellation will ensure that people stay housed during this pandemic.”
Morales was joined by Krystal Marx, Deputy Mayor of the City of Burien, Brandon Hersey from the Seattle Public Schools board, Daniel Hammill, Councilmember, City of Bellingham, Hollie Huthman, Council member, City of Bellingham, Varisha Khan, Council member, City of Redmond, and Kate Burke, Council member, City of Spokane, in the session.
The group called on state leaders to reconvene in a special session on June 1st and “immediately pass two types of relief for their constituents:”
- Cancel rent, and call on Congress to pass the Rent & Mortgage Cancellation bill co-sponsored by Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal; and,
- Extend the rent increase freeze for 6 months following the end of the Governor’s eviction moratorium and permanently lift the ban on rent control.
Earlier this month, Inslee extended and expanded a statewide eviction moratorium and freeze on rent hikes through the beginning of June. A longer period of protection for renters and those unable to pay mortgages could be the product of special legislative action if the session is called.
Morales, meanwhile, has teamed with District 3’s Kshama Sawant representing Capitol Hill and the Central District in a push for an accelerated plan for a tax on big business payrolls to pay for new housing and a program that would provide emergency relief checks to residents starting this summer. The proposed legislation has begun its move through the city council’s chambers.
Sawant is also calling for a rent strike in May to help protect tenants facing financial challenges during the COVID-19 crisis.
HELP CHS COVER THE COVID-19 CRISIS -- SUBSCRIBE TODAY: Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.