Evicted Over $49: What Happens When Seattle’s Poorest Tenants Can’t Make Rent

The city's public housing authority leaves little wiggle room for struggling residents.

Feature (Washington)

Heidi Groover
Stranger (WA)
April 25, 2018

Tags: Housing: Eviction, Housing: Public

Organizations mentioned/involved: King County Housing Justice Project (WA), Legal Action Center (WA)


Eviction is a destabilizing experience for anyone, but the stakes for those in public housing are particularly high. SHA and the King County Housing Authority (KCHA) primarily serve people making $28,800 or less for a family of four. Rent is usually set at 30 percent of income. Because of that, public housing tenants can face eviction for financial sums that appear surprisingly small but can quickly become insurmountable.

Weighing a potential eviction, Andrus speaks in quick, clipped sentences, eager to get the conversation over with. “It’s been stressful,” he says. “I’m trying not to think about it.”