The Mayor and Seattle City Council recently announced the initial appointees selected to serve on the new Seattle Renters’ Commission. Created by Ordinance 125280 in March 2017, the 15-member commission will advise the City on priorities, policies, and strategies related to all issues concerning renters across the City of Seattle. It will also monitor and provide feedback on the enforcement and effectiveness of legislation related to renters and renter protections. All the appointments are subject to City Council confirmation.
Beverly Aarons has lived in Seattle since 2010. She is a renter, writer, gardener, and community activist who has lived in Queen Anne, Belltown, and Pioneer Square. Her current projects include creating a video game about the impacts of gentrification on renters.
What inspired you to serve on the Seattle Renters’ Commission?
I saw that there was a pressing need to provide not only affordable housing for Seattle’s renters but supportive laws and policies that consider all aspects of a renter’s life. Seeing how rising rents were becoming a fast track to homelessness, I was compelled to take action for myself and my fellow renters so that we can remain housed and a part of this thriving city.
How has your experience as a renter shaped your perspective of Seattle?
I have experienced the full impact of rising rents. After facing a 70% rent hike when living in Queen Anne, that experience made me feel that Seattle was becoming a place that would no longer include people like me. I began to feel that Seattle was becoming a place only for landowners and the wealthy. I also felt that there were no laws protecting me from excessive rent hikes and that I could be pushed out of anywhere I lived at any time.
What do you hope the Seattle Renters’ Commission will bring to the City?
I hope to bring to the commission my ability to see the interconnectedness of various issues and my ability to problem solve.
What neighborhood do you live in and what do you love most about it?
I’ve previously lived in Queen Anne and Belltown but I’m currently in Pioneer Square. What I love most about this area is that I’m surrounded by artists of all disciplines–writers, musicians, painters, dancers and more. There’s a very close community of people willing to connect with each other and the wider community. I like how Pioneer Square feels like a real community.