WLIHA in the News 2021!
|The Seattle Times||Washington lawmakers look for ways to exit the eviction moratorium — and prevent the fallout|
|Crosscut||WA scrambles to avoid mass evictions as moratorium nears end|
|The Everett Herald||Here’s how the state will spend $2.2B in federal pandemic aid|
|Investigate West||Fix the climate while solving the housing crisis? Olympia's trying|
We are the statewide champion for housing.
As the state's premier advocacy organization for housing and homelessness issues, the Housing Alliance is a trusted leader and expert on these issues. We are happy to share our policy expertise with the media, as well as up-do-date information on key legislation at both the state and federal levels, as well as media contacts from among our 115+ member organizations.
Washington Legislature Makes Unprecedented and Significant Progress on Solutions to Housing Affordability and Homelessness
Olympia, Wa – In this time of rising homelessness and sky-high housing costs across Washington, the state legislature has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and bipartisan support for solutions to the housing affordability and homelessness crisis across our state. Never before has the legislature demonstrated a willingness to come together to find such groundbreaking solutions.
Along with a $107 million investment in the Housing Trust Fund as part of the Biennial Capital Budget, lawmakers passed a package of seven bills that: increase funding for building and preserving affordable homes, prevent homelessness, increase stability for people living on low incomes, and remove barriers to finding and keeping a home.
In order to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent in Washington, renters need to earn $23.64 per hour. This is Washington’s 2017 Housing Wage, revealed in a national report released today. The report, Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing, was jointly released by the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a research and advocacy organization dedicated solely to achieving affordable and decent homes for the lowest income people.
Every year, Out of Reach reports on the Housing Wage (the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest and safe rental home without spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs) for all states, counties, and metropolitan areas in the country. The report highlights the gap between what renters earn and what it costs to afford rent at fair market value.
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.
“Washington state is experiencing a crisis of homelessness, and the state Senate yesterday introduced an operating budget that will exacerbate this crisis rather than solve it. This is not the kind of budget you’d expect to see when each night more than 20,000 people are struggling with homelessness in our state, and many others are living just one pay check away from not being able to pay their rent or mortgage.
“We are alarmed at the lengths the Senate is willing to go to raise as little revenue as possible. This budget guts and totally eliminates programs designed to save lives and prevent homelessness.
“At a time when there is an increased likelihood of massive funding cuts at the federal level, we as a state cannot afford to rip larger holes in our safety-net. We urge the Senate to take another look at this budget, and we urge the House to propose a budget more in-line with the values of Washington state. Everyone in Washington should have the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home – but that will never be a reality unless the state invests in homelessness prevention and affordable homes.”
Child advocates to state Supreme Court: Low-income students and students of color face barriers
The state Supreme Court must not order action that would endanger children’s constitutional rights to educational opportunity.
So says an Amici Curiae brief filed by four organizations working together to advocate for kids in the context of the McCleary decision. The organizations are Columbia Legal Services, the Equity in Education Coalition, the Children’s Alliance and the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.
In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent in Washington, renters need to earn $23.13 per hour. This is Washington’s 2016 Housing Wage, revealed in a national report released today. The report, Out of Reach 2016, was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization, and the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.
Every year, Out of Reach reports on the Housing Wage for all states, counties, and metropolitan areas in the country. The report highlights the gap between what renters earn and what it costs to afford rent at fair market value.
While we are pleased to see some very important investments in affordable housing and homelessness programs, especially for homeless youth, overall the budget compromise is disappointing. Washington is facing a housing affordability crisis and homelessness has reached emergency levels in many communities across the state. This budget fails to adequately invest in the solutions we need to address this crisis. Both the House and Senate had budget options on the table that would have made a real difference in addressing homelessness and public will has never been higher – people recognize that we need to do more. The legislature missed an opportunity.
With an unprecedented level of bipartisan support, SB 6413 passed the Legislature yesterday and is headed to the Governor's desk to be signed in to law. This bill combines several long debated issues to make progress on tenant protections. The bill rolled together components of the Fair Tenant Screening Act and the Truth in Evictions Reporting Act. One major problem that this bill solves is that of all eviction proceedings being reported as equal. When a tenant prevails in court or has been wrongly named, the court now has the authority to stop those proceedings from showing up as an eviction in tenant screening reports. The Housing Alliance worked with landlord representatives to reach agreement on this bill.
The Housing Alliance applauds Senator Nelson for her strong leadership in addressing the state’s homelessness emergency. SB 6647, also known at The Bring Washington Home Act, will provide much needed funds for shelter, build and preserve affordable homes, and is a bold step toward ending homelessness in our state.