FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 24, 2017
Sandra Aguila Salinas, Madrona Elementary
(206) 579-1680; email@example.com
Sandra Hunt, Madrona Elementary
(206) 604-6738; firstname.lastname@example.org
Helena Benedict, Tenants Union of Washington
(971) 221-3555; email@example.com
Manufactured Home Owners and Local Educators to Host Community Forum on Affordable Housing and Growth in South King County
WHO: The Firs Home Owners Association, SeaTac, WA
Teachers and Educators from Madrona Elementary and nearby schools
WHERE: Madrona Elementary School – 20301 32nd Ave S, SeaTac, WA 98198
WHEN: Monday, October 30th, 2017 – 6:00 PM (doors open at 5:30)
WHAT: Community forum bringing together community members, educators,
activists, housing groups, area business owners, and elected officials to discuss how the lack of affordable housing and growing home displacements are changing our region.
Manufactured Home Owners at Firs MHP join forces with local educators to convene a community discussion around affordable housing and push for equitable development that protects vulnerable students and brings opportunity to all members of our communities
Home Owners at Firs Mobile Home Park in SeaTac are threatened with homelessness and displacement, as plans to develop hotels where their community currently sits will destroy 65 deeply affordable, family-size homes with no plans to replace them and no just compensation that would allow homeowners to remain in the area. Approximately 90 children from the Firs community attend Highline Public Schools, and these students fear leaving their teachers, social networks, and other supports in the award-winning district.
The threat of displacement at Firs comes as the housing crisis in our region continues to worsen. The King County Housing Authority received nearly 20,000 applications for assistance in their most recent two-week application period. Fifty-nine percent of applicants with children were homeless at the time of application, with 10,000 children currently living in homeless households. The number of homeless students across King County has nearly doubled in the past five years, and within the Highline School District, one in 16 students lacks a stable home to return to each night. Rates of homelessness are likely to increase, since the average rent in cities that comprise the Highline service area rose by 9 % last year. Simultaneously, Light Rail expansion throughout the area provides a link to transit, jobs, and educational opportunities, – while driving up land values and intensifying the pressures of gentrification.
In the midst of this crisis, educators and other staff at local schools struggle to support students and families through the traumas of displacement and homelessness. Students without stable housing are more likely than their peers to experience family adversity, health problems, and lower academic performance. And when students are displaced out-of-district, schools may grapple with lost Title I funding; increased expenses from transporting homeless students to and from school; and changing demographics that threaten dual-language classrooms and other key programs.
Driven by love for their students and a deep concern for the fate of low-income families in their district, educators at Madrona Elementary and other area schools are partnering with the Firs Home Owners Association to host a community forum on affordable housing and growth in our region. Coming together as community members, educators, business owners, housing groups, and elected officials, panelists and attendees will work together to envision a better future for their community, and to develop solutions that are guided by the wisdom of the people most impacted. Local governments, funders, and decision-makers must find new and creative ways to ensure that public investment and new infrastructure in previously-neglected neighborhoods create communities of opportunity for the most-marginalized, rather than continuing to concentrate power and privilege in the hands of a few while sweeping aside our most vulnerable communities.