Washington State House Democrats


Joint statement from chairs of Members of Color caucuses on rent stabilization

Our communities are begging for housing stability. It is time to listen. 

This is why both the Senate and House Members of Color caucuses have prioritized stabilizing rent increases (HB 2114/SB 5961) as our top housing policy for the 2024 legislative session. 

As chairs of our respective caucuses, we are the first to recognize we are not a monolith and don’t aim to become one. We represent diverse interests and districts. As elected leaders of color, we carry multiple truths born of our varied lived experiences. We hold the perspectives of the constituents we represent and the many communities, even beyond our district boundaries, looking to us to represent their voices, which have been historically excluded or marginalized by the very institutions we now serve in.  

The ugly truth is that Washington is in the throes of a housing affordability crisis. Too many people in this state struggle to afford housing and stay housed. The cost of housing for Washingtonians has undeniably skyrocketed, with renters reporting an average increase of 20% in housing costs — in some cases happening consistently, year over year. Nationwide, a $100 increase in rent is associated with a 9% increase in the rate of homelessness — even when controlling for other factors, like wages, unemployment, and poverty. A study looking at metro areas found the same $100 increase in median rents to be associated with a 15% increase in homelessness, and as high as a 39% increase in nearby rural areas. This cannot continue. 

The financial strain of rent increases causes families to reduce spending on essentials like food and other basic needs, leading to stress, trauma, and negative health outcomes. Recent research from Princeton University’s Eviction Lab shows a direct correlation between high rent burdens, where those spending more than half of their income on rent face an increased risk of premature death. Not being able to keep up with rent increases also leads to more evictions. Eviction has lasting effects on a person’s ability to secure future housing, deepening poverty and instability. The same Princeton study found that receiving an eviction judgment is linked to a 40% increase in the risk of death. For some communities, it is a never-ending cycle with no relief. 

We speak with a collective voice when we recognize Black and Indigenous communities and people of color in this state are more likely to be impacted by a policy. In this case, these communities are more likely to be renters because they have historically been kept away from generational wealth-building opportunities, like homeownership. Our most populous counties — King, Pierce, and Snohomish — are witnessing the greatest increases in cost-burdened renter households. These counties are home to some of our state’s largest populations of diverse cultural and ethnic communities. 

These are the same communities asking us to support limiting excessive and unexpected rent increases as a critical part of addressing the crisis. In fact, over 100 community-based organizations, including faith and labor groups and those representing priorities for people of color statewide, are pleading with us to center their voices, their struggles, and their pain. They are not interested in misleading data, comparing a jurisdiction that has implemented “rent control” with the distinct policy before them. They are asking us to look past patronizing platitudes from those who serve to speak with authority on what is best for them while ignoring what is happening right now, in real time. 

It’s time to listen to those communities and act. 


Sen. Yasmin Trudeau | 27th LD                           Rep. Mia Gregerson | 33rd LD

Senate MOCC Chair                                              House MOCC Chair