The Federal Way Education Association. Courtesy photo

The Federal Way Education Association. Courtesy photo

Vote yes on Initiative 19-001 for Stable Homes

As a teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School or the past 25 years, I know the importance of stable housing for our children’s education.

  • Saturday, October 26, 2019 8:05am
  • Opinion

By James Brown

Pro Committee for Initiative 19-001

No matter what we do or where we come from, we all work hard to make sure our families have a safe place to live. The biggest thing kids should stress about is where their backpack is in the morning — not worrying about if they have a home to sleep in at night.

This is why I urge you to vote yes on Initiative 19-001 to pass a landlord code of conduct and ensure stable homes for our community.

As a teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School in the Federal Way school district for the past 25 years, I know the importance of stable housing for our children’s education. I have seen students attend class for a few weeks, only to be forced to leave and start over again in a new school after a landlord ended their lease. It is heartbreaking when a student wants to stay with their familiar teachers and friends, but cannot because the family has to make an unexpected and urgent move. Starting all over again in a strange learning environment is stressful and traumatic to the student, making it extremely difficult to thrive and learn. Voting yes on Initiative 19-001 will prevent many students I teach from experiencing this trauma.

Without the protections in Initiative 19-001, a handful of landlords get to pick and choose who will live where and for how long. They remove us at will when they get the sense they can extract more money in the neighborhoods that we have called and made home. They spread lies about who we are and what we are doing so they can pad their profits by dividing us from each other.

By joining together, as homeowners and renters, Black, white and brown, rich and poor, everyone on the political spectrum, we can ensure all of our families live in stable homes by voting yes on Initiative 19-001. This initiative will ensure landlords abide by a code of conduct that requires them to comply with renter protections that protect renters from retaliation and discrimination.

I am a homeowner who has lived in Federal Way for twenty years and I love my community. I do not like that two corporate landlord lobbying groups – the only entities fighting Initiative 19-001- are lying to our community. Not a single person who actually lives in Federal Way is on the opposing committee. These landlord lobbying organizations are deliberately trying to distract us with fear mongering — but I know my community won’t be tricked and will vote yes on Initiative 19-001 to protect our families.

The initiative has broad support from leaders in our community, such as the Federal Way Education Association, IAFF Local 2024 South King County Professional Firefighters, MLK Labor Council, as well as bipartisan support from elected leaders like Senator Claire Wilson, Former Deputy Mayor Hope Elder, and council members Jesse Johnson and Martin Moore.

Federal Way’s strength comes from our ability to be there for each other – to bring together people from different places and of different races into one community. For this to be a home for all, vote YES on Initiative 19-001. Together, we can make this a place where community and stable homes are for everyone, no exceptions. Join me in voting YES on Initiative 19-001 this Nov. 5.

James Brown has been a teacher at TJHS for over 25 years and a Federal Way homeowner for 20 years.

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