On Tuesday, March 19, the Kirkland City Council will hold a public hearing to hear testimony on a proposed ordinance that would prohibit a landlord from refusing to rent to a tenant solely based upon the applicant’s use of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers (you can read the most recent draft of the ordinance here).
The public hearing will begin at about 7:30 p.m. and people who want to address the City Council are encouraged to sign in prior to the hearing. The length of public testimony per individual will be determined by the Mayor at the hearing based upon the number of people wishing to testify. The hearing will be held at Kirkland City Hall, 123 5th Avenue in the Council Chamber. The staff memo and draft ordinance will be posted on the “City Council Agenda” webpage at www.kirklandwa.gov on Friday, March 15 by 5 p.m.
The Section 8 Housing Voucher program is funded by the federal government and administered by local housing authorities to assist low income families, the elderly and the disabled to afford housing in the private market. For Kirkland, the King County Housing Authority (KCHA) oversees the program. Section 8 participants pay a percentage of their household income for rent and utilities. Through a voucher system, KCHA pays the difference between the tenant’s portion of rent and the amount requested by the landlord.
The City has hosted two community meetings to receive feedback on the proposed ordinance from residents, landlords, property managers, rental housing industry representatives, and housing advocates.
Both landlords and homeless advocacy groups have weighed in on the subject, writing letters supporting the ordinance, and in opposition to it.
The city of Redmond passed a similar ordinance last year. Seattle, Bellevue, and unincorporated King County already have similar rules, as well.
Comments may also be submitted prior to the hearing to Dawn Nelson, Planning & Community Development Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. Background information can be found at www.kirklandwa.gov and search “Section 8.” The hearing will be broadcast live on Comcast Channel 21, Frontier Channel 31, and on the City’s website.
What do you think of this ordinance? Do you support it or oppose it? Tell us in the comments.