After being told they had until the end of October to vacate their apartments, residents of the Renton Woods apartment complex who receives Section 8 housing vouchers have been given a one-month reprieve.
According to Hana Alicic, a community organizer with the Tenants Union of Washington State, management at the complex have issued a 30-day extension to give people facing eviction more time to find new housing.
The management company has also offered affected residents $1,000 to help with moving expenses.
Twenty three families at Renton Woods, located on Petrovitsky Road, were affected by the decision to no longer accept Section 8 housing vouchers, which provide a subsidy from the federal government for people with incomes well below the area mean income.
Alicic said the Tenants Union’s hope is to persuade management to let people stay through the end of the school year so as not to affect the children.
She also said another apartment complex on Petrovitsky, Grammercy, has also informed 41 residents who receive Section 8 money that they would also stop accepting the vouchers.
The Renton Housing Authority administrates the Section 8 program in the city of Renton. They currently manage about 900 families that use the vouchers.
Operations Administrator Jill Richardson said a new management company was hired to run Renton Woods this summer and they have been “aggressive” in looking to raise rents, which she found “disturbing.”
“They want to raise the rent faster than we can keep up,” she said.
Alicic said residents at several other apartment complexes around the area, including Kent and Tukwila, are facing similar issues. She said as the housing climate in Seattle remains hot and as rents continue to rise, the increases are putting pressure on surrounding markets.
Several residents from the developments spoke at the Oct. 21 city council meeting, asking council members to consider passing a law that would prohibit landlords from discriminating based on where residents based on where their rent money comes from.
“You can’t say no to money because its coming from a specific source,” she said.
Renton officials were open to the possibility of such legislation, but it is unknown when or if it will come to a vote. Richardson said the Renton Housing Authority was working with the city on the legislation.
A press conference on the issue was scheduled for Thursday.