Statement from Rachael Myers, Executive Director of Washington Low Income Housing Alliance on the release of the Count Us In Report
Seattle -- Today, All Home announced that 11,643 people were counted as experiencing homelessness in King County on one night in January. This number is alarming, but not surprising – Washington state has been in the throes of an affordable housing and homelessness crisis for years.
We know that homelessness is not just a King County or Seattle problem. In a trend we’ve seen across the state, lack of affordable homes, skyrocketing rents, stagnant wages, and barriers to the rental market are all fueling a crisis that does not obey the boundaries of cities, counties, or even states. And that is why we must respond together.
Our statewide problem requires a statewide solution. The state House last week passed a measure that could end family homelessness, ensure no youth is exited from state care into homelessness, and reduce homelessness among people with disabilities by 50% in four years. It is now up to the state Senate to decide if they too are going to respond to homelessness like the emergency it is.
Another bill, not voted on by the legislature this year, would make it illegal for landlords to discriminate against people who use housing assistance to pay their rent, thereby reducing the unfair barriers for people with low-incomes to enter the private rental market.
We know what we have to do to keep people in their homes, and move people from homelessness to permanent housing. It will take federal, state, and local investments to get the job done, and with the threats of federal cuts looming, we must come together as a state and take care of all our residents. 91% of people experiencing homelessness in King County are from Washington. They are our friends, our families, our neighbors. We call on the legislature to do their part to ensure that everyone in Washington has access to a safe, healthy, affordable home.