In major victory for housing justice, tenants fought, won, and built a legacy
On February 10, 2022, the Displaced Tenants for Accountability & Transparency (DTAT) announced that they had granted over $5.3 million in funding to 22 grassroots housing justice projects in Seattle, ending the final chapter of a powerful housing justice saga.
The fund was created in 2016 after a group of low-income tenants reached a $5.7 million settlement with Triad Development, a private developer known for its troubled Civic Square Project. The tenants began organizing together while being displaced from their homes by an associated developer in 2013. Triad was required by the settlement to pay into a housing affordability fund controlled by the tenants, now known as the Displaced Tenants Fund.
With the support of Social Justice Fund NW, DTAT conducted three rounds of grantmaking to Seattle-based grassroots organizations building affordable housing projects or developing capacity for housing justice organizing. DTAT distinguished their work by deliberately supporting projects often shut out of mainstream affordable housing funding, including those led by people who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color, immigrants, disabled, and queer, trans, and gender non-conforming. “It is deeply important that the most marginalized groups get heard, support, and funding. Too often the queer community loses opportunities due to funders not knowing their work,” said Evana Enabulele, a housing justice advocate and DTAT member. Seed funding from the Displaced Tenants Fund has supported groups like Queer the Land, Chief Seattle Club, and the Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition.
As Covid-19 rages on and resources for renters made vulnerable by systemic oppression are scarce, the need for dignified, deeply affordable housing is greater than ever. Projects supported by the Displaced Tenants Fund have and will create a powerful legacy for community-based, just, affordable housing in Seattle. Eliana Horn, a former Tenants Union organizer and longtime DTAT member said, “I hope this project can be a model to other tenants, groups, and communities. Tenants stuck up to a developer and got this resource to the communities who are working to stop displacement in our city.”
“The Displaced Tenants have persevered through incredible odds and pulled off something extraordinary. They prove that a small group of people, organizing across identities and making decisions democratically, can move us closer to an equitable world,” said Lady Anderson, Program Director with Social Justice Fund.