Compassion Seattle’s charter amendment claims to be working toward ending the homelessness crisis while it really just wants to end the visual reminder of it. A charter amendment that codifies inhumane sweeps and lacks a long-term funding source will not help us start solving housing for all of our neighbors. What will though? We certainly need more affordable housing, but until we build it we can make housing more affordable. Research shows that housing choice vouchers are one of the most effective ways to reduce homelessness.

Unfortunately, only one in four eligible renters can actually get housing assistance because the program is not fully funded. That means, in Seattle, people struggling to afford housing have to apply to Seattle Housing Authority to be put in a lottery, just to get a spot on the waitlist. How many people are living unsheltered because there’s insufficient funding for a lifeline they are eligible for?

We need to make the housing choice voucher program universal through guaranteed multi-year funding. This shouldn’t need to be a bold, progressive push, because this is just the bare minimum. U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, will you lead the charge to provide housing for all low-income renters and families?

Jazmine Smith, Seattle