Close the Survival Gap! Friday @1:30PM in Seattle City Hall


Join faith leaders and lawyers at a press conference to support expanded tent encampment options


A press conference will be held in the atrium at Seattle City Hall (5th Ave. between Cherry and James) to deliver letters from the religious and legal communities in support of Council Bill 117791, which would allow managed homeless encampments on public and private property.

The Defenders Association, Columbia Legal Services, The ACLU, and the Seattle Human Rights Commission will present a letter stating that communities have a legal obligation to either provide sufficient housing or shelter, or to allow encampments to exist. The Church Council of Greater Seattle will present a letter in support of the City Council bill based upon a thirteen-year history of encampments being hosted by more than thirty separate faith communities.

According to the annual one night homeless count, there were 2,736 homeless people outdoors after the shelters were full on January 25, 2013.  City Council recently passed legislation to close the Nickelsville homeless encampment on September 1st. CB 117791, which will expand options for Nickelsville to relocate after that date, was passed out of Nick Licata’s Housing and Homeless Services Committee today and will proceed to the full council for debate.


Questions? Contact organizer@realchangenews.org.

Jobs Assistance Bill Passes! Next: Legalize Tent Encampments!

Real Change

We banned the box!

On June 10th, Seattle City Council voted unanimously to pass the Jobs Assistance Ordinance. With it’s passage, employers in Seattle can no longer ask about criminal history on a job application or reference criminal history in advertising. This law will give thousands of people with a criminal record a second chance at building a new life.

Real Change supported this ordinance through a campaign led by Columbia Legal Services. Over 47 vendors signed or wrote letters of support and others provided personal testimony during a council hearing. One vendor, Nick Maxwell, was even quoted in The Seattle Times. He explained, “When I got out of prison, and put in a job application, I was honest about my incarceration, but I found all doors closed…If a person has paid his debt to society, he should have an opportunity for a job and to feed his family. People shouldn’t have to serve a life sentence for their past.” Another vendor, Sharon Jones, was featured on KUOW: “I’ve always answered that question correctly…now I can’t get back to work. I just graduated from medical school and I’m trying to be a phlebotomist technician, and I sure would like to get a job.”

Thanks to all who emailed, provided testimony and called councilmembers!

Help Close the Survival Gap: Legalize Tent Encampments!

Real Change supports a proposal before the city council’s housing and human services committee that would legalize homeless encampments on public and privately owned property and help expand the number of faith-based sites. With 2,736 unsheltered people counted outside during the January One Night Count, tent cities save lives and they need to be supported by the City. Read about Council Bill 117792 and learn more in Tim’s Director’s Corner.

What you can do:

  • Email or call councilmembers TODAY and ask them to support Council Bill 117792. 206-684-CITY.
  • Join us June 25th at City Hall to show your support! We need to pack the hearing to demonstrate our support for this bill.

State Advocacy: Reject SB 5895, Enact Revenue!

Senate Bill 5895 imposes an arbitrary spending limit to non-education investments and would force deep cuts to child services, mental health, veteran’s benefits, and senior services. As Washington Low Income Housing Alliance explains: “At a time when record numbers of people are living in poverty and are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, we should be looking to increasing our state’s investment in the safety net, not demanding on the passage of bills that seek to destroy it.”

Take Action with WLIHA to reject SB 5895 and support a budget that protects the safety net and invests in the Housing Trust Fund. While you’re at it, support Governor Inslee’s plan to close tax loopholes through AFSCME.

Real Change, Homeless Listening Circles tomorrow (Saturday)

As part of Real Change’s advocacy efforts, we are inviting community members to join Real Change vendors, volunteers, and staff, along with people who are currently homeless, to participate in Listening Circles  to hear each others’ experiences with economic insecurity and access to resources. This is an opportunity to actively listen to stories about what it takes to “get by” in Seattle from people who are both housed and unhoused.

When: TOMORROW, Saturday, April 21st, 2012
Sessions: 10AM, 12PM, and 2PM  (60-90 minutes each)
Location: Real Change Vendor Center: 96 S. Main St., Pioneer Square

Vendor Buddy McArdle describes homelessness

“I have a degree in IT and I can’t even get a backup job.”

Listening circles are an organizing tool – for Real Change, they serve as a cross-class engagement strategy. When people share their experiences, they can relate to each other and become part of a movement. Our goal is to bring the voices of the people experiencing economic insecurity and homelessness to the forefront of the 2 remaining years of King County’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness.
Join us for this dialogue between homeless people and their allies for economic justice, and learn about our common interest in taking action by attending a Listening Circle session.

To participate in a Listening Circle, please RSVP to organizer@realchangenews.org  or phone  Jenn Pearson,  Volunteer Manager, at 206.441.3247 ext. 212.