2020 Session Preview: Ending No-Cause Evictions

Washington’s 2020 Legislative Session is just two months away. In that time, we’ll be previewing and unpacking the WA Low Income Housing Alliance agenda and discuss what exactly we’re organizing for the next session. In this issue of the RAP Newsletter, we are exploring SHB 1656: Ending No-Cause Evictions.

Advocating for Stable Homes & Ending No Cause Evictions

In Washington State, landlords do not have to provide or describe a “cause” when kicking someone out of the home. The notice to vacate must be in writing and be served at least 20-days before the last day of the rental period. Although landlords aren’t legally allowed to evict a tenant for a discriminatory or retaliatory reasons, this “hidden” practice still happens all over the state because landlords are not required to describe a legitimate business reason for displacing the tenant.

Some Washington cities have already created laws to end no cause evictions, including Seattle, Burien and Federal Way. And there’s precedent for entire states to pass similar laws as well, with both New Jersey and New Hampshire already having variations of a no-cause eviction law on the books. Federal housing programs often provide “good cause” protection, which prohibits arbitrary termination of tenancy or refusal to renew a lease. Programs with good cause protection include: Project-Based Section 8 buildings and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties.

The Problem:

No-cause evictions are a serious problem statewide because they:

  • A) Directly force people out of their community and into housing instability and homelessness;
  • B) Restrict renters’ access to justice, bypassing the court system in which the renter could otherwise make an argument to keep their home;
  • C) Makes tenants more fearful to organize or raise concerns with issues happening on the property; and
  • D) Often hide underlying discrimination or retaliation by the landlord.

Proposed Solution:  

Simple: Ban the practice of displacing people from their homes without cause! The details of the proposed bill will continue to be worked out leading up to and during the session. But at its roots, we’re calling on our elected officials to pass a law that requires a landlord to describe a legitimate business reason before forcing a tenant to vacate their home.

Did this happen to you?

Have you ever received a 20-day “no cause” notice to vacate your home? Do you know someone who has? The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance would love to connect with you and anyone who has experienced this loophole in our renter protections firsthand.

With your help, we can make 2020 the year our decision-makers outlaw no-cause evictions in Washington.

If you have received a no-cause eviction, we are asking for your help to go towww.evictedwithoutcause.com and complete the form on the page. We will follow up with you to learn more and discuss how we can build power to outlaw no-cause evictions! Please share the link widely, and if you have any questions or would like to learn more about our efforts, please contact John Stovall at johns@wliha.org.


Save-the-Date: Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day 2020

Housing & Homeless Advocacy Day

Join the WA Low Income Housing Alliance, Resident Action Project, and more than 600 advocates from across the state for our annual Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day! Registration will be open shortly, but it’s not too early to start planning and coordinating with your network. Here’s what you need to know to make that calendar reminder:

  • When: Monday, February 3, 2020
  • Where: Olympia WA (starting location is to be determined)
  • Who: All Washington residents passionate about organizing for housing justice in our state.

Download the HHAD Save-the-Date Flyer Here!. See below:

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Building Skills for Housing Justice at COEH

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The 29th annual Conference on Ending Homelessness (COEH) welcomed more than 500 folks from the housing justice world earlier this month in Spokane. The Resident Action Project was there in full force, joined by direct-service providers, housing developers, funders and elected officials.

Although coming from different aspects of the housing and homelessness world, the COEH purpose was clear: To build skills and share resources to see housing justice become a reality in our state.

More than 37 sessions were offered to participants across the 1.5 day event, with session topics ranging from the need to have an equity approach to coordinated entry to decolonizing systems to landlord mitigation and everything in between. Sessions were hosted by dozens of parts to the Housing Alliance (to see the full Housing Alliance Member List, click here).

RAP hosted a workshop on the second day on building power for statewide change, and RAP Steering Committee leader Mindy Woods co-hosted a session previewing the 2020 legislative agenda for the Housing Alliance. PDF versions of all presentations that used slides will be added to wliha.org in the coming days and we’ll post a link to them in our upcoming newsletters. 


Ren Autrey: Navigating this World While Homeless, and Still Human

The following is a speech by Ren Autrey, Resident Action Project Steering Committee leader, which she presented at the annual Bring Washington Home fundraiser in Seattle on Oct. 15, 2019. She bravely shares her story of resilience and healing, explores how community is essential in the journey of overcoming homelessness.


My name is Ren Autrey, I am a Certified Peer Counselor, a Resident Action Project Statewide Steering committee member and I co-run a grassroots non profit that advocates and works with people experiencing homelessness in Vancouver, WA’s 49th District. Leading up to all of that I had previously spent some time without a home living in my van and couching with friends and family from California to Washington while I was “in-between projects.” Like many folks who find themselves in this position, I was navigating some grief, mental health and money issues that come from the instability of life during times of change. During these challenges, I was able to gain a new perspective of not only myself but also of other people navigating this world while homeless, and still human.

As a single woman alone with my little dog on the road our only safety was inside our vehicle. And while inside that van, the perception of safety and community slowly slipped away. Each new location and city brought new challenges. Police knocked on my window and told me to move on. Well meaning people taped notes on my window threatening me if I kept my dog safe in that vehicle (with windows only slightly rolled down), that while I went to the bathroom or inside somewhere to shop for supplies they would break the windows and leave us even more exposed to unsafe conditions and the elements. Some days it was all I could do to step outside my vehicle. Living without a home is a daily trauma experience  and recovering from that trauma is not a simple thing.

But I have to ask – is it really possible to heal while still enduring daily traumas living on the streets or in unsafe situations?

We attempt to keep ourselves connected to community, while that same community looks at us sleeping with all of our stuff in our vehicles and RV’s and on the streets with fear and judgement of our circumstances. And we know that look in their eyes. It is really the fear of knowing that they too are only one car accident, one work injury, or one or two partial or late paychecks away from instability or homelessness themselves.

And then when we are the recipients of grace and find opportunity to be housed again, we need to realize that there is a healing process that happens when we go from being homeless to being reconnected to community.  We changed, our responses to situations changed and now it will need to change again. We have to work hard to get into new routines and new communication cycles with the people around us. We have to dig in a MAKE a home safe & comfortable. To do that we NEED a stable and resilient place to call home to learn and practice those skills — This is difficult and not easy when the answer before was just to “move on” and not feel worthy of that conversation or place to be.

Part of what we do in Vancouver with our non-profit Outsiders Inn is to engage in conversation with folks and ask key questions and DEEPLY LISTEN to their answers – We respectfully ask and encourage them to share their stories.

We get to see the human side of our unhoused population’s challenges. They get the opportunity to be heard. Through these stories, this is how the healing begins, for myself and for those I go out and meet and listen to.  It’s simple. We share our stories. We need to build more homes and safe spaces to heal and learn how to speak with confidence – Learn HOW to share our stories effectively – so we not only help others change, but WE continue to grow and change internally from our experiences.

Resident Action Project was a continuation of this process for me and I fell in love with the organization and the people in it right away, I had found my “heart community”.

They too were digging deep into helping some of those same folks and myself bring our stories together for a bigger purpose, to a greater number of people, and possibly a more influential audience. Lawmakers, city, county, and state representatives. And here we are – able to use our stories to be a part of changing policy, laws and perceptions in a grand way.   My fellow RAP members taught me that a little practice and confidence goes a long way in this work! I am grateful for their continued love and support.


I would have never imagined a few short years ago that this is a journey I would have taken, yet here I am before all of you. I am a mother, a grandmother, a working member of our society, AND I am a person who has experienced mental health struggles and homelessness. I was a strong person already, but through my experiences and perspectives – I am even stronger now.  — I have experienced healing through being a part of something bigger than myself and learning how to effectively advocate around issues that affect all of us. Through the support of the Housing Alliance and the camaraderie with other Resident Action Project members, I have been able to deepen my skills around community organizing and building movements and I have been a part of creating and expanding something I am proud of.

But my community goes beyond my city, it is also my state and includes most of you in this room.

And — I am proud to be one of many in a community that cares.  I am proud to be a part of a statewide movement that works on showing what a caring and compassionate community can do when we come together. I am proud to help build those safe places we will call home — to share our stories and continue to heal our community – while we continue to collaborate with all of you to find compassionate community responses to homelessness – together.  Thank You.


2019 #OurHomesOurVoices

This week, RAP members are hosting events in communities across WA to call on our elected representatives and the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to fund more affordable housing! Join us!

Find an event on the RAP calendar.

No events near you? Print a poster or grab a Twitter frame, snap a photo, and post it to social media with #OurHomesOurVoices — your image can be added to the Twitter Storm to elected representatives!

Find more photos on our Photo Slideshow!

Here’s a photo teaser…

Snohomish County

Vancouver, WA

Lewis County, WA

Seattle, WA


Spring 2018: Conference on Ending Homelessness


This Month’s Advocacy in Action

This Month’s Advocacy in Action blog post comes from none other than Lisa Sawyer who is on RAP’s Steering Committee and a Real Change vendor. Lisa wrote this article on the Conference on Ending Homelessness for Real Change’s May 30 – June 5 issue.