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.
Calvin Jones grew up in Summit, New Jersey, and went to high school at The Pingry School in Martinsville, New Jersey. He went on to study math and join the swim team at Yale, where he also discovered a love of economics and public policy. He has lived in Seattle for the past three years and now works for Microsoft. He also enjoys volunteering at Mary’s Place in Belltown.
Calvin was placed on the Seattle Renters’ Commission through Get Engaged, a leadership development program for young adults ages 18-29 in partnership with the YMCA.
What inspired you to serve on the Seattle Renters’ Commission?
I was inspired to serve on the Seattle Renters’ Commission because of the affordability crisis that faces the city. Seeing the number of homeless in Capitol Hill every morning on my way to work is a visceral reminder that we have a moral obligation to provide affordable housing to all of Seattle’s residents, no matter their background. The Renters’ Commission is an opportunity to provide voice to the voiceless and bring about positive change for the city’s most vulnerable residents.
How has your experience as a renter shaped your perspective of Seattle?
My experience as a renter has highlighted how entrenched policy favors owners at the expense of renters. The mortgage interest tax deduction and tight zoning laws in large swaths of Capitol Hill are two policies that artificially inflate both rents and home prices. Higher prices are good for homeowners, but not renters.
What do you hope the Seattle Renters’ Commission will bring to the City?
I hope the Renters’ Commission can bring a voice to the voiceless. I hope the commission can bring together all renters in the city under a common set of policy proposals that benefit all Seattle residents, not just wealthy homeowners.
What neighborhood do you live in and what do you love most about it?
I moved to Madison Valley a few weeks ago and love that people can say “good morning!” on their way to work.