• Hundreds protest rent hikes for public housing

    By: Nick McGurk

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - A town hall meeting in Seattle on Sunday brought people together to protest a plan that would hike rents for those in public housing.

    The Seattle Housing Authority proposed a plan in August to change the formula for the amount of assistance low-income tenants would receive.

    Calling the proposal “Stepping Forward," the agency would increase rents gradually over several years for adults age 24-61 who are able to work. The system currently has tenants paying 30 percent of their incomes.

    "This issue of SHA trying to raise the rent is pretty disgusting,” said Mohamed Mohamed, who lives at High Point in West Seattle and who attended the meeting Sunday.

    He lives with his mother, who pays 30 percent of her income so the family can live at High Point.

    Mohammed says he was able to graduate college knowing he didn't have to worry about his mother making ends meet.

    Now, he says, the family is worried about Seattle Housing Authority's "Stepping Forward" plan.

    "Everybody in this city is angry about the housing crisis. And that is why people are showing up here at this town hall on housing because they're fed up,” said councilmember Kshama Sawant, who helped organize the meeting.

    SHA says the Stepping Forward program would enable 600 more families to receive public housing assistance.

    The goal is to give an incentive those in public housing to earn more money.

    More than 9,000 households are currently waiting for housing.

    SHA told KIRO 7 in August that federal budget cuts will reduce their funding by about $12 million a year for the next 10 years.

    The following public meetings will be held to gather community input:

    Date & Time                       Location

    Sept. 16, 6 p.m.                 Meadowbrook Comm. Cntr., 10517 - 35th Ave. NE.

    Sept. 17, 6 p.m.                 Yesler Community Cntr., 917 E. Yesler Way

    Sept. 22, 6 p.m.                 Rainier Community Cntr., 4600 38th Ave. S.

    Sept. 23, 6 p.m.                 New Holly Gathering Hall, 7054 - 32nd Ave. S.

    Sept. 29, 6 p.m.                 High Point Comm. Cntr., 6920 34th Ave. SW.

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