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2019 Seattle City Council Housing and Homelessness Voters Guide

To help Seattle voters understand their choices in the upcoming City Council election, Tech 4 Housing has partnered with Resolution to End Homelessness, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness, Housing Development Consortium and Solid Ground on a 2019 voter education project.

This online Voters Guide on Housing and Homelessness is based on responses to a candidate questionnaire sent to all 14 candidates. We’re pleased that 13 of 14 candidates are expected to participate in this Voters Guide. See more of our methodology here.

Many thanks to the candidates who participated, and to the voters who consider housing and homelessness a primary issue in this campaign.

Note: Because we are 501(c)(3) organizations, we are providing this information for educational purposes only and are not making endorsements. We do not endorse nor oppose any candidate.

King County Elections will mail ballots to everyone mid-October. You can return your ballot by mail (no stamp required) or at a drop box, by Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Don’t know your district? Look it up here. | Are you registered to vote? Check and update your registration here.

District 1 | District 2 | District 3 | District 4 | District 5 | District 6 | District 7

District 5

Ann Davison Sattler

https://neighborsforann.com

Download complete candidate response as submitted.

Question 1. Beyond making current programs more efficient, do you think we need to increase funding for housing for people experiencing homelessness? If so, where would you raise the revenue?

Because I have talked to thousands of residents in District 5 while door knocking since January, I have met many with a sense of tax fatigue who are working hard to stay in their homes. I want to see a variety of housing, including single-room occupancy rooms and other smaller unit options that build in community with shared common spaces. Incentivizing developers to build these types of units—not paying their way out of building them now—does not require additional funding by the public’s tax dollars. Boston, a comparably-sized city has about a $3.5B budget and we have a $6B budget. That means they spend almost half of the money we do per person and they have made better progress on their homeless issue. As with many parts of our budget, we have the money, we aren’t spending it effectively and can do better on this.

Question 2. What are your thoughts on the City's current implementation of encampment removals? In what ways would you improve the policies?

We need to treat this with urgency to match the declared state of emergency on homelessness in 2015. Creating a safe and sanitary space where people can be instead of continuously telling people where they cannot be is the first step. Placing emergency Red-cross like relief shelters in designated locations (3 on my website) similar to the response expected if many sheltered became unsheltered overnight due to a natural disaster. These locations would have toilets, showers and on-site needs assessment. We can then discern between an affordability problem and those who can self-care and those struggling with addiction who will need medicalized treatment, or other needs, making someone unable to self-care and treatment plus housing. It will also allow us to locate vulnerable people in encampments, such as runaway minors, who are unable to self-advocate.

Question 3. The City and State have introduced several new tenant protections in recent years. Do you think more work is needed to protect tenants and combat displacement? If so, what changes would you like to see?

One area I want to focus on is ownership equity in real estate.  I met a family who rented the same single-family home for 26 years and now had to move because the owner sold it and the new owner nearly doubled the rent.  Although we cannot enter into a private transaction, we can incentivize private landlords to move leases to lease-to-own agreements so renters are building equity in the homes in which they were living. What we can do better is to include all parties at the table.  In the Renters Commission that was formed no landlords were included and should have been to get real progress made.

Question 4. Homelessness and housing insecurity disproportionately affect people of color, LGBTQ communities, people with disabilities and other marginalized communities. What would you do to address these disparities?

To address housing, I think the best approach is to remove hurdles that are delaying the increase of supply.  We have a huge shortage of housing in this city and more housing will lower prices.  Lower prices across the board means more can be targeted at marginalized groups more efficiently so more help can get to those who need it.

Question 5. How would you adjust Seattle's land use and zoning laws? In particular, what changes, if any, would you want to see in neighborhoods currently zoned exclusively for single-family housing and in multi-family neighborhoods where we're making significant investments in transit?

Increasing density within a half mile of the transit hubs will allow more people to access services, including importantly, mass transit.  We have a unique city and we cannot rely on uniform density to get around and access critical resources.  Outside that half mile area, we should continue to have sing-family zoned areas until we can bring better transit access to them and to also have a variety of living units. I believe strongly in maintaining and increasing livability for the city which means that it is important to make progress on building more sidewalks in the north end and maintaining the tree canopy and parks as much as possible in all areas. As we become more populated, we will need more space for people to connect to nature and relax, not less of it.

Question 6. We know that it is cheaper to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place than it is to support them to exit homelessness. What is your vision for homelessness prevention initiatives and services in our community?

We know that as youth age out of the foster care system about half become homeless.  With the opioid epidemic touching so many families, we need to make sure we decrease this number not allow it to increase.  This means a concerted effort towards building a sense of community for those young adults exiting the foster care system, including emotional skills and strong social connections, including mentors/sponsors who will offer networking connections and other educational and occupational resources.  This also means that we need to invest more into community centers and inclusive, team building activities to keep people engaged in their community before they turn to substances to try to escape it.

Debora Juarez

https://deborajuarez.com

Download complete candidate response as submitted. Some answers truncated here for being over 150 word limit.

Question 1. Beyond making current programs more efficient, do you think we need to increase funding for housing for people experiencing homelessness? If so, where would you raise the revenue?

Yes. We are an innovative city and there is a myriad of solutions for the biggest challenge we face: housing and caring for the thousands of homeless people in Seattle. After we work to eliminate inefficiencies in current programs and revenue collection, the City still needs additional revenue to ensure we are able to tackle problems like homelessness and housing affordability in a thorough and effective manner.

I have previously supported new revenue streams in Seattle, including the 2016 Housing Levy that was a major step toward building the housing we need to shelter our homeless neighbors.

My district has historically voted for and supported a statewide income tax. For that reason, I supported the Seattle City Council’s attempt to create a citywide income tax, knowing that it faces significant legal hurdles. The City Council also attempted to pass a Head Tax, which ought to go to the voters for…

Question 2. What are your thoughts on the City's current implementation of encampment removals? In what ways would you improve the policies?

Our homeless neighbors need to have a safe place to go and must be treated with dignity and respect. The City of Seattle must follow the precedent established by the 9th Circuit Court Martin v. Boise that homeless people can not be punished in the absence of shelter options. I do not support removing people from encampments without offering them a viable offer of shelter and/or housing, as well as services. I appreciate the efforts of the Navigation Team to do outreach, connect people to services, and help mitigate the impacts of encampments that pose a risk to the public health and public safety of the residents and neighbors alike.

This is one of the biggest issues in my district and I am often in the community working with constituents, local nonprofits, the Navigation Team, and other stakeholders to improve policies. I have fought for dedicated funding from our budget…

Question 3. The City and State have introduced several new tenant protections in recent years. Do you think more work is needed to protect tenants and combat displacement? If so, what changes would you like to see?

Yes, we absolutely need to do more to protect tenants and combat displacement on top of what we have already done. I was proud to vote for several pieces of legislation to improve protections for renters in Seattle, including a law in December 2016 that capped rental move-in fees and 5 new laws passed on October 1st, 2019 that address legal occupancy limits, notices, requiring landlords to provide written receipts for rent and forbidding online-only rental payments.

The landmark eviction reform passed in the 2019 Legislative Session was an important first step. We should look into additional protections for families facing eviction, including rent stabilization and preventions for rental price gouging. We need better legal assistance for low-income people facing violations, disputes, and the threat of eviction, funding for enforcement for renter protections and transitional housing for families and victims of domestic violence.

Question 4. Homelessness and housing insecurity disproportionately affect people of color, LGBTQ communities, people with disabilities and other marginalized communities. What would you do to address these disparities?

In 1968, the Seattle City Council passed Ordinance 96619 prohibiting unfair housing practices and prescribing penalties for doing so. Up until this time, Seattle had a history of redlining in neighborhoods to keep certain parts of the city exclusive to white, middle class and upper-income residents. This, in turn, created a long-lasting legacy of segregation. It is fundamental that we continue to work today to ensure all neighborhoods are accessible to everyone and right this historical wrong. That is why I supported and defended the Mandatory Housing Affordability legislative package this year to increase affordable housing options throughout the city. Private companies and developers benefit from our growing economy. They have a role in ensuring new development provides additional affordable housing units so we are not displacing low-income people in Seattle. Such entities should participate in the MHA program; I prefer performance rather than a payment. MHA was a first…

Question 5. How would you adjust Seattle's land use and zoning laws? In particular, what changes, if any, would you want to see in neighborhoods currently zoned exclusively for single-family housing and in multi-family neighborhoods where we're making significant investments in transit?

I support transit-oriented development and have voted to change the zoning around major transit projects. A major component of new TOD must be mixed-income and multi-family housing to prevent displacement. Historically, housing and transit policies were designed to create pockets of poverty and led to racist zoning. We can undo these historical wrongs and prevent displacement by making sure there is affordable housing and the opportunity for neighbors to stay in areas that are being developed alongside transit.

High-quality, affordable childcare ought to be considered required infrastructure just like schools, roads, hospitals, and other institutions our city needs. Childcare is exceedingly expensive and difficult to find near home and work. I have coined the term “transit-oriented childcare” as I am collaborating with a few for-profit developers to add a childcare facility to the area before the arrival of light rail. Having accessible childcare is crucial for families to thrive in…

Question 6. We know that it is cheaper to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place than it is to support them to exit homelessness. What is your vision for homelessness prevention initiatives and services in our community?

Housing is a human right. To make sure that everyone has a home, we need to build on recent eviction reform, overcome the deficit of affordable housing in our city, and ensure that direct service providers have the funding they need to be effective.

As I mentioned before, I have passed amendments to our budget to direct more funding to nonprofits like North Helpline, our local enhanced food bank service center with two locations in my district. North Helpline has navigators to help homeless neighbors get connected to services and exit homelessness. They also provide monetary assistance for move-in deposits, eviction prevention services, and preventing utility shut-offs. We need to expand funding for programs like this to prevent neighbors from becoming homeless in the first place. I strongly support place-based services that are local and know the community. Additionally, District 5 is the only City Council district that does not…