Washington Democratic congressional candidate Rebecca Parson has a unique idea to solve the homelessness crisis: break into empty homes and force Congress to pass a Housing for All law.
Parsons is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
What are the details?
Parson, who is running for the Democratic nomination in Washington's 6th Congressional District, released a new campaign ad in which she advocates breaking into empty houses to pressure Congress to end homelessness.
"You feel it, I feel it — we're on the edge of collapse. The corporate elite tell us not to worry. But what has doing what they told us ever gotten us?" Parson says in the ad.
The ad shows Parson using bolt cutters to cut a chain-link fence and enter an abandoned property.
"Imagine I proposed a Housing for All bill in Congress. Then imagine you, me, and a million of our friends took action and occupied empty houses nationwide. They couldn’t ignore us," Parson explains. "No one has ever done anything like this — that's why it's going to work."
Content Warning: Strong language:
Parson is passionate about the issue of homelessness. In fact, she said in the ad that she once experienced homelessness herself.
Her campaign website outlines her platform on the issue, including "universal rent control nationwide," the "declaration of housing as a human right," a "massive investment" in public housing so that "housing always stays affordable and community-controlled," the end of "often-racist and always-exclusionary single-family zoning," and a "national grace period of 14 days for payment of rent."
Parson also advocates for "severe financial penalties for municipalities that criminalize the existence of homeless people," which she explains as "laws against loitering, sleeping in cars and parks when the shelters are full, and feeding the homeless."
"We must end the war on the poor," Parson declares on her campaign website.
Occupying housing in an illegal manner is nothing new for Parson.
In 2020, Parson was a member of a group, Tacoma Housing Now, which paid to house homeless individuals at a local hotel for one night. But after that one night ended, they continued to occupy the rooms without paying, even demanding the government pay for the rooms, KING-TV reported.
They eventually left the hotel after six days. Police said the group left voluntarily, which Parson disputed.
"It's a total joke and an Orwellian use of the word 'voluntary,' because the police were at the hotel threatening people with felonies, and they're now going on the record in news articles saying they might charge us with felonies," she said at the time. "So I don't know what world we live in where threatening someone with felonies if they don't leave, and then they leave, is that voluntary? Of course not. It was not voluntary."
Parson previously ran for Congress in 2020, but lost her primary.