September 7, 2017 // Issue 27
HALA September Update
In this Issue:
  • Update on passage of Fair Chance Housing
  • Upcoming Open Houses for Comprehensive Plan Amendments
  • Incorporating Feedback into MHA Draft Maps and Legislation
  • Watch a video on Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda accomplishments
Seattle leads the nation in ensuring renters have access to opportunity.
 
8/23/2017 SEATTLE – Mayor Ed Murray is pleased to announce that Seattle City Council approved legislation today to help prevent housing discrimination against renters with a past criminal record.
 
The Fair Chance Housing ordinance cleared the Council by an 8 to 0 vote. The new ordinance prevents landlords from unfairly denying applicants housing based on criminal history. It also prohibits the use of advertising language that categorically excludes people with arrests or conviction records.
 
“Today is a historic day, capping years of work by community partners with the City of Seattle to help make our housing market more just and equitable for all,” said Patricia Lally, Director of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights. “Their vision paved the way.”
 
For nearly a decade community groups have called on the City to address the effect of a past criminal record on a person’s ability to rent housing. One group in particular helped to start the discussion - women of color living in transitional housing, who urged the City to address their ability to find housing and provide for their families.

"Ensuring people have fair access to housing is about equity and about ensuring everyone has the ability contribute in our society, including getting a good job and raising a family,” said Mayor Ed Murray.
 
In 2015, the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) recommended the City address these barriers to housing via legislation. In response, the Seattle Office for Civil Rights and the Mayor’s Office convened the Fair Chance Housing Committee to receive input as a policy was developed.
The impact of discrimination in housing against people with a criminal record is harsh and disproportionate:
 
  • Approximately 30% (173,714) of Seattle residents over the age of 18 have an arrest or conviction record and that 7%, or 43,428 people, have a felony record.
  • The Sentencing Project, citing Bureau of Justice Statistics data, has stated, “Overall, African Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, they are more likely to face stiff sentences. African American men are six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men and Latino men are more than twice as likely to be incarcerated as white men.”
  • In King County, African Americans are 6.8% of the overall population, but account for 36.3% of the King County jail population. Native Americans are 1.1%, but account for 2.4% of the King County jail population.
  • Nearly half of all children in the U.S. have one parent with a criminal record. Many families must separate or face homelessness.
 
“Finding people housing continues to be the biggest challenge we have,” said A ugustine Cita, Workforce Development Director with Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle. “The people we are talking about are hard working men and women who have done their time and just want a place to live. This legislation will level the playing field.” 

What's happening right now?
Incorporating feedback into MHA Draft Maps and Legislation
Thank you to all of you who have provided thoughts, suggestions, concerns and proposals to improve the Draft MHA Zoning Maps.
 
Outreach and planning staff are currently working on making changes to the maps and the graphic to the right shows the inputs that are incorporated as part of this process. We are on track to transmit legislation (which will include urban village zoning maps) at the end of this summer.
Inputs to MHA Draft Maps and legislation are  -Community input
• Racial equity analysis
• Environmental Impact Study 
  and community feedback
• Transit investments
• Local context
• Topography and others...
Comprehensive Plan Amendment Open Houses
in October
High Point Community Center
Neighborhoods with proposed amendments:
  • Morgan Junction
  • Mt. Baker/North Rainier
  • West Seattle Junction
  • Westwood Highland Park

Hales Brewery (the Palladium)
Neighborhoods with proposed amendments:
  • Aurora-Licton Springs
  • Fremont
  • Northgate
  • Roosevelt
  • Wallingford
Join us to learn about and discuss what Comprehensive Plan amendments are being studied by the City of Seattle to implement the Mandatory Housing Affordability program. 

All are welcome. Snacks and drinks provided.
Jesseca Brand 
Seattle Neighborhoods
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