After it lost funding in 2009 due to cutbacks by King County, The Tenants Union nearly closed its doors. Now, thanks to a new executive director and a new source of funding, the grassroots nonprofit is back in business.
Former Solid Ground housing counselor Jonathan Grant took over as executive director last year, and the agency has opened two additional counseling clinics in Columbia City and Lake City ("Renters invited to clinics on tenants' rights," RC, June 1-7).
To pay for the new services, the Tenants Union secured roughly $16,000 from an unusual source: tax revenues originally earmarked for the Seattle's rental housing inspection program, Grant said.
The city had an inspection program before, but a landlord filed suit and a judge stopped the inspections, Grant said.
To settle the lawsuit, Grant said the city agreed it would not resume inspections until 2007. (The City Council is currently working to develop a new apartment inspection program.) It had already collected taxes for the inspections, however, and set them aside in a trust account called the Margola Settlement Fund.