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State Legislative Advocacy

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We advocate for public policy that supports our vision that all Washington residents have the opportunity to live in safe, healthy, affordable homes in thriving communities.


2021 Washington State Lead Public Policy Agenda

*draft only and subject to change. Support agenda to be determined.  

Increase and Preserve Affordable Housing: Invest $240 million for the Housing Trust Fund and an additional $10 million from the Capital Budget for preservation of affordable housing (USDA and other properties at risk of loss).  
 

Keep people in their homes and prevent an increase in homelessness: Pass statewide protections against discriminatory and arbitrary evictions (good cause termination requirements) and prevent evictions based on nonpayment of rent with improved legal protections and rental assistance. 
 

Increase state resources to prevent and end homelessness: Significantly increase the state’s document recording fee to increase resources to prevent homelessness. 
 

Create and increase sources of progressive revenue: Protect against any cuts to affordable housing, homelessness and human services programs by passing significant new progressive revenue.  

Watch this space for regular updates in 2021.


2020 Washington State Supplemental Budget Wins

Affordable housing and homelessness resources included in the final budgets totaled $174 million, including:

  • $55 million for the Housing Trust Fund to build and preserve affordable homes. Added to last year’s budget, this makes the two-year Housing Trust Fund total $230 million, the largest biennial investment ever!
  • $15 million a year to increase the Housing and Essential Needs rental assistance program for disabled adults.
  • $15 million a year, for three years, to operate and maintain permanent supportive housing for people experiencing long-term homelessness with significant behavioral and physical health needs.
  • $68 million for shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

 2020 Washington State Lead & Support Policy Agenda Wins

 

Bill/Prime Sponsor

Short Description

ESHB 1694/ Morgan 

Allowing move-in installment payment plans to help address the massive cost of moving, capping holding fees and providing a penalty.

SHB 1590/ Doglio

Provides cities and counties the ability to implement the local sales and use tax for affordable housing councilmanically. The legislature created this option in 2015 but required a ballot measure, and only a handful of cities have been able to use it. HB 1590 will make implementing this option quicker and more efficient, and could result in nearly $150 million for affordable housing and behavioral health programs across the state.

ESHB 2535/ Kirby

Providing for a grace period before late fees may be imposed for past due rent and allowing disabled and elderly tenants receiving federal income assistance to request a rent due date more in line with the date that their monthly income arrives. 

SHB 2384/ Doglio

Modernizes and expands a property tax exemption for affordable housing providers. This will significantly help nonprofits who often run on modest budgets to provide the affordable homes our communities so urgently need. 

ESSB 6378/ Kuderer

Makes improvements to last year’s eviction reform bill (SB 5600) including improvements to eviction notices so tenants are informed about resources and improvements to the court eviction process so that tenants can stop an eviction when they are able to access rental assistance. 

SHB 2343/ Fitzgibbon

This is a follow-up bill to last year's 1923 also by Representative Fitzgibbon which addressed barriers to building affordable housing, incentivized cities to create housing plans and more. Most significantly for affordable housing, HB 2343 lowers the transit frequency times required in order to prevent a local jurisdiction from requiring parking for affordable housing which is a very significant and unnecessary cost drive to building affordable homes.

SHB 2634/ Walen*

Creating a Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) exemption when selling to an affordable housing provider who acquires the property for affordable housing. This will incentivize sales to affordable housing providers and give them a leg up when competing for increasingly scarce land for multifamily housing. *On April 3, Gov. Inslee vetoed a number of bills citing the need to prepare for the economic impacts of COVID-19. Unfortunately his vetoes included HB 2364 and HB 2797

EHB 2797/ Robinson*

Making important improvements to last year’s HB 1406 so that local jurisdictions can take full advantage of the state sales tax credit for affordable housing. 34 counties to date have implemented this option and many cities across the state have as well, resulting in tens of millions of dollars for affordable housing and rental assistance each year over the life of the tax credit. *On April 3, Gov. Inslee vetoed a number of bills citing the need to prepare for the economic impacts of COVID-19. Unfortunately his vetoes included HB 2364 and HB 2797   
 

 

Key Support Agenda bills that passed

SHB 2950/ Macri

Addressing affordable housing needs through the multifamily housing tax exemption by providing an extension of the exemption until January 1, 2022, for certain properties currently receiving a twelve-year exemption and by convening a work group.
 

2SSB 6478/ Nguyen

Revising the TANF program to allow families to maintain benefits beyond the program time-limits if they are facing hardship, including homelessness.

SB 6229/ Kuderer

Streamlining reporting for recipients of housing-related state funding by removing Washington state quality award program requirements. This will reduce significant unnecessary and wasteful spending and staff time for nonprofits and local governments. 

SHB 2456/ Callan

Expanding the homeless grace period for households accessing working connections child-care from four to twelve months in order to help them access employment, housing and services while their children are safe and high-quality childcare. 

SHB 2567/ Thai

Protecting access to courts for immigrant households by prohibiting warrantless, civil arrests inside court houses and by preventing judges, court staff and others from inquiring into or sharing citizenship status. This is critical in ensuring immigrant households can defend themselves in eviction lawsuits.

SHB 2441/ Entenman

Improving access to temporary assistance for needy families by adjusting when a family can be terminated from the program.

SHB 2607/ Callan

Improving access for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness to obtain a Washington state ID, including by expanding access for young adults aged 18 – 25 to qualify for reduced costs identicards.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and use the hashtag #WAhomes to share news, updates, and stories about affordable homes. 

Watch this page for regular updates. For more information, contact Director of Policy and Advocacy Michele Thomas at michelet@wliha.org

 

 

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Affordable housing advocates talking on the Legislative Campus in Olympia
Advocates chatting together in 2020 at HHAD in Olympia.

 

 

 

 

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