Tenant groups rally at state Capitol to push for rent control

OLYMPIA, Wash. - - Dozens of people turned out for a rally in Olympia to push for rent control in Washington state.

Organizers say they want to remind law makers that rents continue to rise across the state and people just can’t afford it.

“Do y’all even know how this feels when a note is on your door and your children that are depending on you?” said a renter at the rally for rent control on the steps of Washington state's Capitol.

Paying rent continues to be a struggle for some families. Grassroots organization Tenant Union of Washington is working to get more security for renters.

“The Department of Commerce said that rising rents are the leading cause of the increase in homelessness, and yet we’re not seeing any action to curb that,” said Dinah Braccio with Tenant Union of Washington.

The rally comes just one day after lawmakers in Oregon passed new statewide rent control laws for the first time in decades. Renters in Washington now want lawmakers to give them similar protections.

“We pay in our house right now only $850 a month for a three-bedroom, very well-furnished house, but for our landlords right next to us, they pay $1,500,” said Lisa Striedinger, a member of the Tenant Union of Washington.

PolicyLink, the Right to the City Alliance and the Center for Popular Democracy recently released a report that found communities of color are most affected by rising rents. It also found that 6,300 families across the country face eviction each day. Braccio says they’d like to see rents capped at a 3% yearly increase.

“Rent control could immediately stabilize over a million renters in Washington and over 42 million renters across the nation," Braccio said.

Organizers say their goal is to work with policy makers and landlords to find a way to keep people in their housing, which will stabilize families and combat homelessness in Washington state.