On any given night, there are around 4,000 homeless people on the streets of King County.
Presented with this fact and several testimonies at Saturday’s Sound Alliance Action Assembly on Homelessness, District 46’s elected officials signed on in favor of the UW hosting Tent City 3 in 2017.
Sen. David Frockt, Rep. Gerry Pollet, and Rep. Jessyn Farrell gathered with the Sound Alliance, the Tent City Collective (TCC), community members, and UW students at the UW South Campus Center for the assembly. Two points of action were presented to district legistlators: bring Tent City 3 (TC3) to the UW, and open the conversation on statewide revenue reform.
TCC is both a UW student organization and a campaign within the Health Equity Circle, which is a member institution of the Sound Alliance. As a community organizing group, the Sound Alliance exists to build a vehicle of power through relationships across institutions.
With Saturday’s assembly, these organizations aimed to build relationships with state legislators and ask for a pledge of long-term support regarding the issues of homelessness and reform in the state budget.
The request presented in regard to TC3 simply asked for legislators to sign on in support. After testimonies from TC3 resident Nick Christensen, Sound Alliance affiliate Bob Dickinson, and ASUW president Tyler Wu, the legislators agreed.
“There is nothing more central to the mission of a public university than giving shelter to our homeless,” Pollet said.
In the second half of the event, legislators were also asked to consider the Sound Alliance’s Building a Better Washington campaign, which aims to reform state budgeting.
“We feel that homelessness is directly related to our current revenue system and the funding of public programs,” said lead organizer of TCC Hana Alicic.
The campaign will open the dialogue on revenue reform by bringing Washington state residents together to talk about their wants, research funding options, and organize in key swing districts.
“Washington state has the most regressive tax program in the United States,” said Julia Moen, an organizer for the Sound Alliance. “People in the lowest income bracket pay 16 percent of income while [people in the] highest pay 2 percent of income.”
When asked if they will work with Washingtonians on revenue reform, the legislators once again responded with a resounding yes.
Liam Hovey, a medical student at the UW and communications lead of the Health Equity Circle, said he was surprised that the legislators were so on board.
“I was expecting a few more ‘we’ll try’s’ rather than full-on support,” Hovey said.
With approximately 120 people in attendance, the room was filled to the brim.
“It’s great to have people here holding power as well as the voice of the people,” said Justin Clark, a master’s student in the School of Social Work. “When we come together with people in power, that’s when real change happens.”
Reach reporter Julia-Grace Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @Sanders_Julia