The presidents of Seattle University and Seattle Pacific University, Steven V. Sundborg, S.J., and Dr. Daniel J. Martin, have declared May 15-22, 2017, as Affordable Housing Week on their campuses. They join King County and 18 King County cities in affirming the need for affordable housing.
To recognize the week, SU’s Project on Family Homelessness will host a “Renter’s Rights 101” workshop, Thursday, May 18, 6-8 p.m. Intended for new renters, especially students, the workshop is co-presented by Tenants Union of Washington State, Be:Seattle, and Capitol Hill Housing. The workshop is free, and registration is encouraged: www.renters101.eventbrite.com.
Also on May 18, SPU’s Committee on Homelessness will host a luncheon with student leaders to talk about strategies to provide more institutional support and collaboration around student involvement in addressing homelessness. Several students recently completed the annual “Urban Plunge,” a five-day immersion experience designed to help participants encounter people's stories and learn what resources are available to Seattle's homeless population.
The proclamation recognizes the importance of safe, healthy, affordable homes within communities of opportunity. Affordable Housing Week, now in its second year, is hosted by the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County. Mayor Ed Murray and County Executive Dow Constantine have signed proclamations as well.
This is the first time both universities have participated; SU was the first university to sign on, in the inaugural year.
Seattle-area universities have long worked to engage their campus communities in addressing the region’s homelessness state of emergency. SU was the first university in the nation to host a tent city on campus in 2005, and SPU has hosted Tent City 3 twice. The University of Washington hosted Tent City 3 December 2016-February 2017.
At SU there is a long tradition of working to solve the issue. President Sundborg has been a community leader in the effort to end homelessness in King County, having served as a longtime governing board member of All Home King County. The university’s commitment to social justice has led to numerous programs dedicated to housing and homelessness. The Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness [www.su-familyhomelessness.com] is a communications and advocacy project established in 2010. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the project uses journalism, art and storytelling to engage the community in making family homelessness rare, brief and one time only in the region. The project is housed in the Institute of Public Service, which educates students for positions of responsibility and leadership in local, state, federal government and the nonprofit sectors.
Seattle University’s other related initiatives include the Homeless Rights Advocacy Project in the School of Law, which engages Seattle University School of Law students in effective legal and policy research, analysis, and advocacy work to advance the rights of homeless adults, youth, and children; and the Faith & Family Homelessness Project (2011-2016) and a new two-year project on homelessness in the Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs, both in the School of Theology and Ministry.
For more information on Housing Development Consortium and Affordable Housing Week: www.housingconsortium.org/affordable-housing-week