Seattle Housing Authority’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) is an agency-wide effort to educate its employees on the effects of racism and its impacts on the work of Seattle Housing Authority, its employees, residents, and stakeholders, and eliminate the effects of institutional racism within SHA by examining SHA’s policies and procedures and modifying those that have negative impacts.
Vision for the RSJI at SHA: In all aspects of our operations as a public housing authority, Seattle Housing Authority is committed to working actively to advance race and social justice equity. We commit to: *Ensure that there are no racial or other social justice disparities in the diverse communities that receive our housing; *Develop a workforce that is committed to advancing race and social justice equity and that reflects the diverse community that we serve; *Ensure that our budgeting, purchasing and contracting practices help advance economic, racial and social justice equity in the Seattle community; and *Understand and use our influence to help end the disparities in the housing, education, employment, health, criminal justice and other systems that impact the people with low incomes that we serve.
Since the RSJI went agency wide in 2012, SHA has: developed and provided RSJI Foundation training to all of its employees; provided post-Foundation RSJI trainings to a smaller group of formal and informal leaders across SHA departments; integrated questions about race and social justice equity into several of its key decision making process (agency charter process; MTW planning process; and budget); and made an adapted version of the City of Seattle’s Racial Equity Assessment Tool available to all SHA departments. Currently, SHA is developing its first (2019) agency wide RSJI Work Plan.
The RSJI is staffed by a .75 FTE Manager (Tera Oglesby, she/her/they) based in SHA’s Human Resources Department who also manages SHA’s Employee Career Development Program.
- Bio: Tera joined SHA in 2016 after working as a volunteer manager, grant writer and program manager for 20 years in public and nonprofit agencies in Seattle – including leading AmeriCorps teams in Seattle for many years. Outside of work, she is the mama of a toddler and she organizes for racial justice in the Seattle community with the People’s Institute Northwest and European Dissent Seattle.
The RSJI is also supported by an agency-wide Committee and Steering Committee of employees from diverse backgrounds and roles within SHA who are focused on providing training, tools and resources for all SHA employees to work proactively for race and social justice equity.
About SHA: SHA provides long-term, low income rental housing and rental assistance to approximately 34,000 people, representing more than 17,000 households, in the city of Seattle. Additionally, SHA administers more than 10,000 Housing Choice Vouchers, enabling low-income tenants to receive rental assistance with other landlords in Seattle. Nearly 80 percent of individuals served by SHA are children, elderly or disabled; and one in 10 students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools lives in SHA-supported housing. We believe in providing more than housing for our tenants, and we partner with many organizations to offer an array of services and community activities to improve the lives of those we serve. SHA is an independent public corporation. The majority of SHA’s funding is federal, through the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).