Upcoming Events: More coming soon!
We fight for what is morally right, not what is politically possible.
From our creation in 1994, Real Change’s approach to combating homelessness and poverty meets direct, immediate needs while working toward long-term, systems-change. We challenge ongoing camp sweeps, fighting the criminalization of poverty and homelessness with community-led solutions that honor the autonomy and dignity of our unhoused neighbors. On Nov. 1 2021, there was a Seattle City Council budget hearing at City Hall and in response, an overnight protest to stop the sweeps. Midnight that night marked the two-year anniversary of the State of Emergency of Homelessness.
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On March 28th, 2022, we filed an initiative for social housing onto the 2022 City of Seattle ballot — under the House Our Neighbors! (HON!) grassroots coalition of currently and formerly unhoused folks and advocates — and in February, 2023, the initiative was passed by Seattle voters with 57% of the vote. Read the full text of Initative I-135 here. Initially, HON! formed to mobilize against the pro-sweeps Charter Amendment 29, building a robust get-out-the-vote and community education effort. In August of 2021, a King County Superior Court judge threw the charter amendment off the ballot for exceeding the scope of the city’s initiative process.
To learn more about social housing:
Social Housing: Halting the Pipeline into Houselessness
Curious to learn more about how social housing provides an antidote to concentrated poverty, tenant abuse, and houselessness? Or are you just hearing the words “social housing” for the first time?
- Listen to the panel featuring Carl Nakajima (Real Change Vendor and Advocacy Intern), Kate (Executive Director of Be: Seattle), Linda (Senior Lecturer in College of Urban Studies at UW Tacoma), and Zachary Wood, PhD (Assistant Professor of Public Affairs at Seattle University)
Building Tenant Power Workshop
Do you know the difference between affordable housing, public housing, and social housing? How could social housing impact renters and what do we need to do to fight for it to become a reality here in Seattle?
- Listen to the workshop hosted by Be:Seattle and the House Our Neighbors! Coalition. Guest speakers included Councilmember Tammy Morales (Seattle District 2), Zachary D. Wood, PhD (Assistant Professor of Public Affairs at Seattle University), and René Christian Moya (Director of Housing Is A Human Right).
What Even IS Social Housing?
How is social housing different from public, affordable & market housing? Why bring social housing to Seattle?
- Listen to the panel hosted by House Our Neighbors!. Speakers included social housing experts: Stanley Chang (Senator of Hawaii), Paul Williams (Economist & Social Housing Policy Expert), and Oksana Mironov (Housing Policy Writer & Researcher).
Health and Hygiene
Real Change Advocacy also partnered with the University of Washington College of Built Environments to design and install “street sinks'' for people experiencing houselessness. People without houses have difficulty accessing hygiene facilities to protect themselves, especially with the fears surrounding COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Seattle has no public restrooms or facilities at the moment to address this issue, and many businesses shut down in the midst of the pandemic. While the city granted Real Change the money to pursue this project, they have since created countless barriers to actually constructing the sinks.
Vendor Organizing Committee
The Vendor Organizing Committee (VOC), a group of vendor activists, works alongside our team to identify policy goals and advocate for change.
The VOC helps select which policy decisions are most important, and organizes actions around these decisions on the city, county and state level. VOC members take speaking training, work on writing testimony to share in city and county meetings, and most importantly bring their experience as neighbors living unsheltered to this work. It is central to this work for us to involve active Real Change vendors in the decision making, and remain accountable to the people most impacted by the advocacy work.
This is what we fight for:
- Social Housing
Stop The Sweeps!
Defunding SPD and Investing in Community
RV safelots and wraparound services for vehicle residents
Ending Evictions and Protecting Renters
Drug User Health
Rapid Expansion of Tiny House Villages, Hotel and Low Barrier 24/7 Shelter
Hygiene Services for All