The all-volunteer commission, which advises the city on issues that matter to people that rent their home, was established last March after advocacy from groups like the Capitol Hill Community Council, then a unanimous vote by City Council.
The commission consists 15 renters: six appointed by the Seattle City Council, six by the mayor, one young adult through the YMCA Get Engaged program, and two more chosen by the commission—which are the two positions currently open.
To serve on the commission, members to be current renters within the city limits. A blog post from the city’s Department of Neighborhoods calls on commissioners to represent a diverse array of renters—integrating feedback from low-income renters, members of the LGBTQ community, those with past felony convictions, those have experienced homelessness, or anything else that may compound issues of renting and housing.
“It’s about having an elevated voice,” then-Capitol Hill Community Council President (and now Seattle School Board member) Zachary DeWolf, who pushed for the ordinance that created the commission, told Curbed Seattle when it was first introduced. “Especially since those voices tend to be young people, queer people, students, people of color, low to moderate income people. We know those people are underrepresented.”
The commission meets the first Monday of every month—and meeting minutes show the group discussing city issues like a planned ordinance around economic evictions, democracy vouchers, a proposed affordable housing development at Fort Lawton.
The Renters Commission application, which is available online, is due by April 12. Applications can also be picked up at City Hall.