September 13, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Binah Palmer, SEIU 925 Communications Director, 206.322-3010 x337 or firstname.lastname@example.org
David West, U District Alliance for Equity & Livability, 206.919.2774
UW Employees Fear Rising Costs of Living, Working in U District
Sept 13 Forum With City Councilmembers To Address Concerns
SEATTLE – University of Washington staff, students, and faculty will tell Seattle City Councilmembers their concerns about the rising costs of housing, child care and transportation at a forum tonight on the UW campus.
The University of Washington wants Seattle City Council to approve an “upzone” of the University District which, along with its campus master plan in 2017, will result in major new growth and development in the U District for years to come. The upzone will greatly increase real estate values in the neighborhood, but UW employees and students, small businesses, and residents already face serious challenges finding affordable housing, child care and transportation.
“I have never been able to live close to UW because of the cost of housing,” said Vicky Gift, a financial specialist supervisor at UW. ”I am a single mom, commuting three hours a day to work, which makes it hard to get my children to their appointments and school activities. With the U-District upzone, UW must do something to help employees with housing and transportation costs.”
Gift, along with several coworkers, plans to testify at the hearing-style forum tonight.
Yesterday, the U District Alliance for Equity and Livability presented UW President Ana Mari Cauce with a proposal asking the University of Washington to commit to a Community Benefits Agreement, similar to what universities in other cities have done during expansion projects.
“It’s increasingly impossible to live in the city, let alone pay off student loans or start a family,” added Elana Voigt, a UW alum and scientific instructional tech in the physics department who commutes more than four hours per day. “My hope is that UW and City Council will hear our concerns and ensure that future development in the U District offers real relief to students and staff.”
The forum starts at 5:30pm at Mary Gates Hall Commons on the UW campus.
SEIU 925 represents nearly 6,000 employees at the University of Washington. ~ seiu925.org
The U District Alliance for Equity & Livability is a coalition of Seattle-area labor, community, social service, and faith organizations dedicated to ensuring that the benefits of new development connected to the University of Washington promote all communities and are spread inclusively to all employees, students, and residents. ~ uwcommunity.org