To the UW Regents:
We, the undersigned members of the UW community and surrounding neighborhoods, stand united for affordable, accessible housing for all, and against the UW’s corporatization policies that will only make it more difficult for us to live near where we work and study.
UW housing policy is headed in the wrong direction. For years, UW has underinvested in affordable housing while embarking on ambitious development projects in and around the Seattle campus. As a result, it has become more difficult for many of us to find quality housing that we can afford. More workers and students end up in substandard housing, in unaffordable apartments, or forced to endure long commutes.
Now, the UW has just announced that it intends to privatize four public housing complexes – Radford Court, Blakeley Village, Laurel Village, and Nordheim Court. Long-term contracts of up to 80 years will likely be awarded in early 2023 to a big for-profit developer. As part of the deal, the developer would be required to expand housing at those complexes, but virtually all of the expansion would be unaffordable “market-rate” apartments. This is a shameful betrayal of the broader UW community.
We demand that UW, as a public institution, commit to a massive construction of affordable social housing, democratically controlled and operated for the public good, not for private profit.
We are committed to work together to fight for affordable housing for all in the broader UW community and UW’s own commitments to diversity, justice, and equity.
In addition, residents demand:
- The UW must halt plans to privatize housing that first and foremost exists to serve its students, faculty and staff.
- The UW must commit to avoiding burdensome rent increases, regardless of planned or future ownership changes in university housing.
- The UW, our multi-billion-dollar landlord and employer, must ensure that all current tenants at risk of displacement receive rehousing or relocation assistance. The UW must decide the future of family housing in open and honest communication with tenants!
Future communications on this topic must be transparent, timely, and honest with tenants.