The Tacoma City Council adopted an ordinance Thursday requiring landlords of month-to-month renters to provide 90 days notice before evictions.
That new rule, which takes effect next month, won't help the residents of one Tacoma apartment complex who are about to lose their homes. Residents of the Tiki Apartments, many of whom live on a fixed income, are disabled, or both, spoke to the city council Thursday night. New ownership notified them earlier this month they needed to start packing.
"This has to stop. This has to stop now," said Sarah Howe.
Howe is blind and uses a wheelchair. She can't physically get packed up and moved out by the end of the month, let alone find a new place. Tiki residents are the latest to feel the pinch of the housing crisis as rising rents force people to pack up.
"A basic human need is for shelter. It's a basic human need," another tenant told the council.
Thursday's special meeting was called after the issue arose at Tuesday's regular council meeting. Councilmembers and Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards knew something had to be done right away. So Thursday night they voted on a new ordinance requiring landlords to provide month-to-month renters at least 90 days notice before eviction, barring any special circumstances. It will take effect May 14 but will have no impact on Tiki residents.
Councilmember Keith Blocker empathizes with the tenants and reached out to the new owners for a little help during the transition.
"I've lived in shelters before, I've slept in my car. So I am truly compassionate about people who are having housing issues because it's something that has impacted the vast majority of my life," said Blocker.
All tenants will get new notices starting Friday, both a note on their door and a letter sent by mail. It will inform them they now have until the end of June to vacate and will get $600 to aid in relocation costs; an extra $300 if they move out by the end of May. The city knows this is not a perfect solution.
"You shouldn't have to worry about having a roof over your head, that's just basic human morality," said Deputy Mayor Anders Ibsen.