Tenants Union of Washington State Programs
Tenant Education Services
The Tenants Union Education Program empowers tenants with the knowledge and skills needed to keep themselves and their families safely housed. Tenants in Washington have no governmental agency to rely on to enforce their rights. Landlord-tenant laws in Washington State are considered “self help” — it is up to individual tenants to get their rights enforced. The TU provides empowerment-based education and assistance to help tenants learn their rights and take action to resolve housing problems.
The Tenants Rights Hotline is now only one part of a program that also includes individualized tenant counseling, a comprehensive website, tenant education workshops, and services in multiple languages to serve a diverse community. Trained Tenant Counselors provide information on their rights and help tenants take the action necessary to resolve their housing crisis safely. The TU is a vital resource for tenants who are facing housing problems due to unjust housing practices or conditions.
Renters Strike Back: Anti-Displacement Campaign
Renters Strike Back is a grassroots campaign to end mass displacement and
gentrification in the city of Seattle. Our top priority is to mobilize tenants across
the city to fight for increased tenant protections.
Section 8 Tenants Organizing Project (STOP)
Founded in 1996 as a program of the Tenants Union of Washington, STOP is a group of tenants and supporters working to preserve and improve Section 8 housing and give tenants a voice in decisions that affect their housing stability. STOP uses outreach, education and organizing to develop Section 8 tenant leaders to preserve long term affordability for multifamily buildings, affect change in Section 8 policy, and raise community awareness about the Section 8 program.
Healthy Housing Organizing
Tenant leaders in the TU’s Healthy Housing organizing project work together to address substandard housing conditions in South King County and to create structural changes that can concretely improve the condition of the most unhealthy private market-rate housing, prioritizing the leadership and goals of low-income communities, immigrant and refugee communities, and communities of color.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Recent TU Victories:
- Passage of tenant screening protections for survivors of domestic violence.
- Landmark victory of over 20 years of organizing for a Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO) in Seattle to ensure safe, healthy housing for all. See a video online at http://www.tenantsunion.org/.
- New expansions of source of income discrimination for Section 8 voucher holders and other low income tenants in East King County.
- Expansion into tenant organizing in Spokane, WA.
- Tenant leaders from the Section 8 Tenants Organizing Project (STOP) who were facing displacement from their low income housing organized to win long-term affordable housing and set national precedent in national housing policy. In 2014, our Stop Stepping Forward Campaign joined forces with organizations throughout Seattle to tell the Housing Authority that work able adults should not see 400% rent increases over time.
- The TU's comprehensive website, http://www.tenantsunion.org/ is jam packed with information and resources for Washington State renters seeking information to resolve housing problems. All together, our website reached over 500,000 renters in 2014.
Thank you for your interest in supporting the Tenants Union of Washington. Since 1977 the Tenants Union has been a grassroots organization that is led and supported by those who are committed to housing justice. Through your membership and donations, the Tenants Union works to ensure that thousands of low-income tenants have the information, advocacy and support that they need to address unfair housing practices and policies throughout the community. Please take a moment to make a tax-deductible donation to the the Tenants Union. Your voice is the voice of housing justice. And your resolve and commitment are at the heart of the Tenants Union.