January 30, 2013
Contact: Joaquin (wah KEEN) Uy (wee)
On February 11, hundreds from across Washington will converge upon Olympia for the 10th Annual Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day.
This year’s theme is “2-11: Hear the Call for Housing and an End to Homelessness.” Advocacy Day will help connect advocates to elected officials in order to make the call to increase access to affordable housing and services and programs that prevent and end homelessness. This year's theme was chosen in recognition that our date (2-11) is the same phone number (2-1-1) that struggling individuals and families call when trying to get connected to critical resources.
Coordinated by the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, we have a full day planned for our advocates, including teach-ins on our State Legislative Agenda, advocacy workshops, and even a rally on the north steps of the Capitol Building.
Our State Legislative Agenda is particularly significant, as last year, we managed to win all of our legislative priorities. And this year, we are advocating for budget items amidst a projected $2 billion shortfall and potential gridlock in the Senate. Our advocacy agenda includes:
- Invest $175 million for the Housing Trust Fund to create homes for more than 4,300 low-income households.
- Preserve the Housing and Essential Needs/Disability Lifeline Program to ensure those with a temporary disability can stay housed.
- Make tenant screening more fair and transparent by enacting Part 2 of the Fair Tenant Screening Act.
- Ensure any Value Capture Financing tool is equitable by preserving and expanding affordable housing.
- Enact revenue to avoid cuts to valuable social services.
- Protect Washington Families Fund, which funds long term solutions to homelessness by helping families transition to housing.
Housing Alliance Executive Director Rachael Myers believes the agenda is more than reasonable, even given the deficit:
Last school year, 26,049 students in Washington schools were found to be homeless. And just last week, volunteers counted 2,736 people surviving outside with no shelter. That's why, even with the deficit, we're asking the legislature to meet the growing need. Getting people safely housed saves money in the long run and building low-income housing stimulates the economy.
During the Advocacy Day rally, we will have two powerful speakers available for interviews. Formerly homeless youth Brittany Lang has an inspiring story of moving from the streets to stable housing and now today transferring to college. Our other featured speaker is a U.S. veteran with a compelling story of how the economic crash led to her homelessness. Today, she is in her own apartment and finishing her nursing degree.###
Our vision is that all Washington residents have the opportunity to live in safe, healthy, affordable homes in thriving communities.