It took Sylvia Sabon three months to locate a Skyway duplex a short walk from Rainier View Elementary school where her grandson attends kindergarten.
Section 8 housing is hard to find.
The voucher program allows people to rent market-rate apartments. Tenants pay 30 percent of their income, and the SHA pays the landlord the rest.
But there is a maximum rent.
Sabon worries that if SHA eventually changes her rent structure, it will be even harder to maintain her housing.
She’s trying to go to school, fulfilling her basic education requirements at Seattle Central Community College. She also works as a part-time receptionist for Catholic Community Services, all while trying to be home and available to her grandson, Yahto-Angel.
If rents go up, the first things Sabon said she and other tenants will lose are life’s simple luxuries: affordable entertainment and culture.
As Alaska Natives — Sabon is Tlingit — she and her grandson visit powwows in the region put on by the Muckleshoot and Tulalip tribes.
“We need our entertainment,” she said. “We need to keep the kids busy.”
Sabon has been at the forefront of the protests against SHA’s Stepping Forward proposal, expressing her views at protests and speaking to officials at Seattle City Hall to gain support for the cause.
She said the work has been empowering.
Before one summer protest at the Yesler Terrace Community Center, she went to her niece’s unit nearby to tell her about Stepping Forward. Sabon and other tenants convinced people to come out of their SHA-subsidized homes and protest the change. “That was very powerful,” Sabon said. “We shouldn’t have to fight for our homes, but tenants, low-income workers do have a voice.”
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