Many of the solutions needed to ease the broader impacts of COVID-19 will also ease the transition to climate justice—such as good, safe jobs that take care of workers and families and everyone having a safe place to live. We believe that a just response and recovery from COVID-19 is absolutely necessary now to move the Pacific Northwest to be powered by 100% clean energy and create a safer and equitable future for all.
We continue to follow the necessary stay-at-home orders and the wisdom of housing advocates has never been clearer—access to safe housing is a human right.
The economic impacts of COVID-19 have left many people unable to afford the basic necessities of life, much less next month's rent. The main directive is that we must stay in our own homes and avoid physical contact as much as possible to successfully slow the spread of coronavirus, but what if you don’t have a home? Evictions and substandard care for the thousands of people already unhoused will only exacerbate the impacts of COVID-19 and curb our ability to stop the pandemic.
Housing has always been a crisis and urgent need—access to stable and continuously affordable housing near transit, work, and amenities is vital to keeping communities strong and anchored to place. Among the communities hardest hit by climate change and COVID-19 are working-class families of color and people experiencing homelessness—the same communities already enduring the effects of displacement and a lack of affordable housing. Or, as Got Green put it: “We know that housing justice is foundational to our collective survival—in the face of both health crisis and climate crisis. Housing is health. Housing is climate resilience.”
3 ways you can support housing justice this week:
On April 16, Governor Inslee extended a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions and temporarily froze rent increases. This seemed impossible two months ago, with rising property values and gentrification displacing people across the state. While COVID-19 may have been the catalyst, these far-reaching changes are built on campaigns by grassroots advocacy organizations including Got Green. Join their webinar series to learn more about their work and plans for a Just Response to COVID-19.
Thousands of Washingtonians have been laid off or had their hours cut back at work, threatening their ability to pay rent and meet other basic needs. In order to keep people safely home, state and local lawmakers have increased protections for renters during this crisis. While this is a welcome reprieve, there are many questions about whether these measures will offer enough protection. Check out the resources and information from the Tenants Union of Washington to learn more.
“Building Changes is fundraising to augment existing public dollars that will be used to support students and youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. Building Changes will distribute funds to help organizations, schools, and local tribes to meet needs that may otherwise be difficult to fulfill or sustain without additional assistance.”
Best wishes to you, your family and community,
P.S. To support those working in response to COVID-19 impacts, we are sending out these weekly action alert digests. In this time of physical distancing, we must reorient our lives, think creatively and be open to new ways of organizing and problem solving. We hope that these emails will empower you and others by sharing meaningful ways to act. If you have any feedback on topics we’re not covering, please get in touch.