WHO WE ARE
The Bellingham Tenants Union fights to achieve dignity and security for all tenants by ensuring access to safe, healthy and affordable homes. We do this by building the political and economic power of tenants through civic engagement, solidarity, and member driven organizing.
We envision a Bellingham where everyone has safe, healthy, and affordable homes suitable to their needs in economically diverse and opportunity-rich neighborhoods, with good access to public transportation, common spaces, parks, schools, and workplaces.
We envision a city where everyone thrives, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, religion, immigration status, and ability.
We envision a future where all housing is owned and managed by an informed and organized public, who are driven by what is best for people, not profit.
OUR STRENGTH DEPENDS ON OUR MEMBERS AND THEIR INVOLVEMENT.
The Bellingham Tenants Union is a democratic membership organization and 501(c)4 social welfare non-profit. Members of the Bellingham Tenants Union are the Bellingham Tenants Union. We make all the crucial decisions about how our union works and what it does. Once a year, the membership elects five members to take on important roles. Some members serve as volunteer organizers on BTU’s Organizing Committee (OC), which does the day-to-day work and functions of the union.
Elected Leadership for 2018-2019
Co-Chairs: Tara Villalba and Galen Herz
Secretary: Felixia Santana
Treasurer: Ed Wayt
Equity Steward: Christina Woeck
Organizing Committee members:
WHAT WE’VE ACCOMPLISHED
As a new and growing organization founded in 2017, we already have two wins for Bellingham renters under our belt.
MAY 2018: ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS (ADUS) ALLOWED CITY-WIDE
There is a shortage of available housing in Bellingham, making it easier for landlords to price-gouge tenants who have no options. BTU organized, in coalition with many other community organizations, to pass an ordinance allowing ADUs, a small, more affordable home type, in every neighborhood.
ADUs are a small, but necessary, step in the right direction toward improving housing affordability, and opening neighborhoods to people of all incomes.
BTU turned out renters to testify at City Council and Planning Commission Public Hearings. We sent emails pressuring decision-makers. We helped organize a rally. We wrote articles. And we won!
FEBRUARY 2018: ORDINANCE PASSED PROTECTING RENTERS, BANNING DISCRIMINATION
After months of BTU community organizing and pressure, and leadership from City Councilmember Dan Hammill, the Bellingham City Council passed the Ordinance Adopting Protections for Residential Tenants. The ordinance does three key things for renters:
1. Bans discrimination by landlords against people with housing assistance
2. 60 day notice required for all rent increases over 10%.
3. 60 day notice required for no-cause evictions.
Want to know what else is possible? Check out these tenant movement victories from around the U.S. and around the world.