Housing Trust Fund

COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Provider Stakeholder Call June 24

6/24/2020 Call recording

 
Speakers: 


ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TODAY

State Advocacy:

Federal Advocacy:

Resources:

If your landlord is trying or threatening to evict you between now and August 2nd, that is illegal in most cases, and the Attorney General's office is enforcing this. You can file a legal complaint with the AG here.  And here is the link to the form in Spanish.

COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Provider Stakeholder Call June 3

COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Provider Stakeholder Call June 3

6/03/2020 call recording

Speakers:

 

TAKE ACTION TODAY: 

State Advocacy:

  • Sign this petition in support of our 12 requests to Governor Inslee and share it with at least 10 people in your networks! Read the full letter here.
  • Once you've signed the letter, email or Tweet at the Governor (@GovInslee, @WAStateGov) to thank him for extending the eviction moratorium FOR 60 DAYS!

Federal Advocacy:

Resources:

COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Provider Stakeholder Call May 27

 

COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Provider Stakeholder Call May 27

Link to the 5/27/2020 call recording.

 

Speakers on the 5/27/2020:   
Sara Rankin, Seattle University: rankins@seattleu.edu
Tristia Bauman, National Law Center on Poverty and Homelessness: tbauman@nlchp.org
Katara Jordan, Building Changes: katara.jordan@buildingchanges.org
Tedd Kelleher, Dept. of Commerce: tedd.kelleher@commerce.wa.gov

 

ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TODAY! 

State Advocacy:

Sign on to our organizational sign-on letter to Gov. Inslee! Read our full letter here

Once you've done that, sign this individual petition and share it with at least 10 people in your networks! Once you've signed the letters, use Twitter to call on the Governor (@GovInslee, @WAStateGov) to take action and help Washington residents stay housed, healthy, and safe! Just use the hashtags #WeNeedMoreTime and or #ExtendEvictionBan.
 

Federal Advocacy:

 

Resources:

COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Provider Stakeholder Call 05/20/2020

 
Speakers on the 5/20/20 Call:
  
 
ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TODAY! 
  • Send an email to thank your Congress members for sponsoring the Emergency Rental Assistance & Rental Market Stabilization Act! For those who did not sponsor, please ask them to sign on or publicly support the housing and homelessness provisions now included in the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act!
 
  • Sign NLIHC's Letter urging Congress to Include $100B in Emergency Rental Assistance in Next Coronavirus Relief Package.
 
 
Resources from the 5/20/20 Call
 

Executive Director Statement on Partnership for Affordable Housing

A close up of a logo

Description automatically generated

January 8, 2020

 

Greetings,

 

We know that some of our members and allies are being contacted and invited to sign on to a newly formed group called Partnership for Affordable Housing. The group is primarily made up of realtors, landlord lobby groups, bankers, business groups, and several construction unions.

 

They are describing themselves as an affordable housing coalition and incorporating language supporting things we all know are needed like rental subsidies and funding for the Housing Trust Fund. While we welcome support for these efforts, the real point of this coalition is to oppose any legislative efforts aimed at stabilizing rents.

 

The Housing Alliance encourages you to decline any invitation to join this coalition. By being a part of the Housing Alliance and/or your local housing consortium, you are already part of a powerful affordable housing coalition grounded in the values of expanding opportunity to affordable homes and ending homelessness. Even if this group shared these values, new groups like this don’t generally add value, but they do confuse and dilute our message.

 

The Housing Alliance believes that we should look to what Oregon and California have passed recently and consider legislation in Washington that places reasonable limits on rent increases. And we believe this should be combined with investments in housing that is affordable to low income people and eliminating barriers to housing production.

 

Partnership for Affordable Housing is fundamentally an anti-rent control lobbying and communications effort, not a welcome or needed partner.

 

For some thoughtful discussions on rent stabilization / rent control see:

 

Crosscut:

Who's Afraid of Rent Control

 

The Stranger:

The Need for Rent Control

The Case Against Rent Control

What Washington Can Learn From Rent Control Victories in Oregon and California

 

 

Rachael Meyers

Executive Director

Washington Low Income Housing Alliance

Executive Director Statement on Governor Inslee's Proposed Homelessness Investments

                                                                                  

 
For Immediate Release                                                                                                                             
Wednesday December 18, 2019

Download this statement here

      

Statement from Executive Director Rachael Myers on Governor Jay Inslee’s proposed investments in homelessness programs

 

At a time when the federal government is not only underfunding, but ignoring best practices for ending homelessness, we are extremely proud that our Governor is recommending significant new investments in the Housing and Essential Needs program, permanent supportive housing, shelter, and other critical homelessness interventions. 

 

The proposal will invest $146 million in the current budget and includes funding for enhanced shelter and for long term solutions including permanent supportive housing. It comes after last year’s historic appropriation of $175 million in the state Housing Trust Fund to build new affordable homes, and the creation of a new local funding source for cities and counties to use to build affordable homes in their communities (HB1406). This year we will also be asking the Legislature for an additional $10 million investment in the Housing Trust fund in order to prevent the loss of currently affordable homes.

 

Expanding shelter is necessary when people have nowhere to sleep tonight. Permanent housing is the solution to homelessness. Both are necessary investments and we applaud the Governor for recognizing that. We agree with Governor Inslee that Washington’s homelessness crisis is being driven by the sky-high rents across the state. Income inequality also underlies our crisis – as rent levels are set based on what upper income earning households can afford, middle- and lower-income households are left struggling to keep a roof over their heads. Many are not able to make it.

 

The unprecedented proposal for a deep investment in effective strategies to solve homelessness is bold, justified, and will be put to immediate use to keep people in their homes. We call on the Legislature to follow the Governor’s lead.

 

 

Rachael Myers

Executive Director

Washington Low Income Housing Alliance

Housing Advocacy in Action! Week of March 20

Michele Thomas, Director of Policy and Advocacy

We are now over two-thirds of the way through this 105-day legislative session. Over 2000 bills are already dead for the session. If a bill is dead, since it is the beginning of the two-year budget/bill cycle, it will be able to start the process over in 2018 without being reintroduced. But there is also a saying in Olympia that a bill is never really dead until “sine die”. Sine die, basically meaning “adjournment”, is called to close a legislative session. Even if lawmakers are called back for a special session, they will call Sine Die by (or before) April 23, which is the last day allowed for this session.

Interesting facts

1473 bills have been introduced in the House (an average of 15 per Representative). 566 of those House bills have been passed out of House committees. 376 of them have been passed out of the House, and are now in the Senate. Two House bills have already passed the Senate.

1297 bills have been introduced in the Senate (an average 26 per Senator). 484 Senate bills have been passed out of Senate committees. 283 of them have been passed out of the Senate, and are now in the House. Four Senate bills have already passed the House.

The Legislature is set to release budgets this week: action needed!

The state Senate will be the first to release their budgets this year. The Senate Republicans are holding a press conference on Tuesday, March 21 to discuss their Operating Budget proposal. They are expected to release the Capital Budget a little later in the week. Once the first legislative budget is out, hearings will begin. The Housing Alliance will be weighing in with either concern over cuts to safety net programs or with thanks if our budget priorities are protected. The House is currently expected to release their budgets next week (during the week of March 27). Watch this blog and Housing Alliance social media for updates on the budget proposals and for urgent action requests. In the meantime, now is a critical time to weigh in with lawmakers with a request to fund the Housing Trust Fund at $200 million. This week is the last week to influence the Capital Budget proposals before they are finalized and released. We need a groundswell of voices asking for the Housing Trust Fund to be prioritized. Please take action today and ask your board, your colleagues, and other networks to join you.

Do you want more background on the state budget? Here are some useful resources:


Federal budget proposal is draconian and irresponsible


via Washington Post

Last week, President Trump released a budget blueprint for the 2018 fiscal year (October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2018.)

His priorities are clear. In order to significantly increase military spending, make a down payment on his wall, and fund school vouchers, the President has proposed deep cuts that would devastate communities across the country and take life saving services away from people who rely on them.

His proposal cuts HUD by 13%, or $6.2 billion compared with 2016 levels. Compared to funding levels needed for 2017, the budget is a $7.5 billion, or 15% reduction.

The President’s budget eliminates Community Development Block Grants that provided $51 million for housing and infrastructure in Washington in 2016 and the HOME Investment Partnership program that provided $19 million to our state and local communities to build and preserve affordable homes. It also eliminates Choice Neighborhood grants, the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program, and the Section 4 Capacity Building Program.

It also eliminates:

  • Legal Aid – which helps low-income tenants avoid unwarranted evictions and remove barriers to rental housing.
  • US Interagency Council on Homelessness – which coordinates the federal response to homelessness across 19 agencies and reduced homelessness among veterans by half since 2010.
  • LIHEAP – which heats the homes of low-income seniors and families during the winter.

While this budget is just a starting point, and has critics among both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, fighting it is one of the most important things we can do right now. Because the budget is so extreme, there is a risk that restoring some high profile programs and adopting smaller cuts could be seen as a reasonable compromise. Given the enormity of the housing affordability crisis in Washington and across the country, any significant cuts will increase homelessness and cause greater suffering.

One thing we know is clear: advocacy can defeat this budget proposal! Over the coming weeks and months, the Housing Alliance will send out more information and resources on the federal budget, but for now, here are some important resources that will provide more background:

National Low Income Housing Coalition resources:

  • Archive of all NLIHC webinars, including one from Monday, March 20, which provides an overview of the budget proposal and advocacy needed to defeat it.

Center for Budget and Policy Priorities resources:

Additionally, if you are part of an organization, you can sign onto a letter telling Congress to protect affordable housing and transportation funding.

We will continue to update you on progress and opportunities to make your voice heard. 


Ask a Lobbyist: What is a “Special Session”?

We’ve been hearing that the use of the terms “regular session” and “special session” are a bit confusing. Here is some background on what they mean:

The short answer is that a “special session” is an extended session. It is necessary if the legislature is unable to finish the budget during the “regular session”. Here is the longer story:

According to the book Sine Die by Edward D. Seeberger, Washington voters adopted a constitutional amendment in 1979 that provided for the current legislative calendar which sets a 105-day “regular” session during each odd-numbered year and a regular 60-day session in each even-numbered year. Prior to that, sessions were held every odd-numbered year and were limited to just 60 days.

We are currently about two-thirds of the way through the regular 2017 105-day session, which must adjourn no later than April 23. And an Operating Budget for the next biennium must be finalized (voted on by both chambers and signed by the Governor) before July 1 – the date that current budget expires. If the legislature is not done with the budget process by April 23, they will need to be called back for an additional session. If they are unable to finalize it within that first special session, they will be called back for another. Each special session can last no more than 30 days and can be called by the Governor (which is most common) or by a two-thirds vote of all members of the legislature. Even though they are called for 30 days at a time, they can adjourn before the 30 days are up. Usually during a special session, only budgets and items that are necessary to implement the budget can be considered. Special sessions have become very common in recent years, with the 2015 session requiring several in order to reach agreement between the House and Senate on the final budget. That year, it took until June 30 to reach final agreement, with the Governor signing it just hours before the deadline. It is assumed that budget deliberations this year will be hard and will require at least one special session. The Housing Alliance will keep advocates updated on all budget deliberations, so if a special session is called, you will know.

Have a question? Ask a Lobbyist here.

 

-Michele

 

 

 

Sine Die part 2 - A Disappointing Budget

Housing Alliance Public Policy Team

Lawmakers gavelled an end to the 2016 Legislative Session late on Tuesday (3/29/16) after passing supplemental capital and operating budgets.

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.

Below you will find our full statement to the press, followed by a comprehensive table comparing all the budget proposals from the 2016 Legislative Session.

 

Statement to the press

Investments in affordable housing and homelessness in the compromise operating and capital budgets are a small step forward in recognizing the crisis afflicting tens of thousands of families and individuals in communities across Washington. However, these investments fail to expand the proven solutions we need to address homelessness.

The supplemental budgets fall far short of addressing the existing need on the streets and in communities across our state. The original House Operating Budget proposal (HB 2376) was passed by the Democratic-majority House of Representatives and included an additional $37.5 million for affordable housing and supportive services for those in need. The Bring Washington Home Act, (SB 6647) proposed by Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson (D-34, Maury Island) would have invested an additional $186.8 million in a range of affordable housing solutions, homelessness outreach and intervention, and supportive services. Either of these earlier proposals would have made a significant positive impact in the lives of the families and individuals across Washington who are homeless or at risk of becoming so - but the Republican-controlled State Senate refused to give either proposal serious consideration beyond a cursory public hearing.

The final compromise Capital and Operating Budgets passed by the Legislature does total approximately $15 Million for affordable housing and homelessness services. Some of the investments and re-appropriation of funds support important youth homelessness programs, including: $2 Million for the Homeless Student Stability Act (HB 1682), $1.028 Million for HOPE Beds for homeless youth, and $800,000 for Street Youth Services. Unfortunately, the vast majority of this is from existing program funding and does not actually invest new resources in proven solutions to homelessness.  

The final compromise Capital Budget (HB 2380) provides an additional $8 million for affordable housing, including for the Housing Trust Fund, which will fund affordable homes through a competitive grant process and will also fund four specific projects including two youth shelters. Additionally a new program is created, modeled from a similar program in Oregon, which provides incentives for landlords to rent to tenants relying on federal Housing Choice (section 8) vouchers by funding reimbursement for damages to units that exceed normal wear and tear. This new program seeks to help break down unnecessary and unfair barriers to housing by addressing the unfounded fears of landlords that low-income renters cause more damage to units.

Overall, these budgets do not keep pace with the growing need in Washington State.

Recent data from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction shows that 35,511 pubic school children were homeless at some point in the last school year. During the recent point in time count in January, 4,505 people were counted outside in the middle of the night, after the shelters were full in King County. That represented a 19% increase over 2015. Snohomish County saw a 54% increase in unsheltered homelessness in that same period. Kitsap County saw a 30% increase, including a doubling of people living unsheltered.

Significantly greater investment is needed to address this crisis. The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance will continue to work with elected officials toward meaningful, comprehensive solutions. 

###

 

2016 Legislative Session Budget Proposals

BUDGET ITEM

GOVERNOR BUDGET – 12.17.15

HOUSE BUDGET – 2.22.16

SENATE BUDGET - 2.24.16 

SENATE
BUDGET -
3.11.16

FINAL BUDGET -
3.29.16

FUND SOURCE

HOUSING & ESSENTIAL NEEDS

 

No Change

No Change

No Change

No Change No Change General Fund

AGED, BLIND, & DISABLED PROGRAM

 

No Change

No Change

No Change

No Change No Change General Fund

MEDICAL CARE SERVICES

 

No Change

No Change

Analysis in Progress

No Change No Change General Fund

SSI FACILITATION SERVICES

 

No Change

No Change

No Change

No Change No Change General Fund

TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE FOR NEEDY FAMILIES

 

No Change

No Change

No Change

No Change No Change General Fund (State and Federal)

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH HOUSING SUPPORT & STEP DOWN SERVICES

+$2.8 Million

+$2.762 Million

 

+$2.762 Million

+$2.762 Million +2.762 Million $2 Million from General Fund, $762 from General Fund - Federal Approrpriation
AGED, BLIND, AND DISABLED MEDICAL ASSISTANCE
THE CATEGORICALLY NEEDY BLIND DISABLED AND COMMUNITY OPTIONS PROGRAM ENTRY SYSTEM (COPES) POPULATIONS ARE REMOVED FROM MANAGED CARE AND NOW COVERED UNDER FEE-FOR-SERVICE BEGINNING JULY 1, 2016 No Change No Change Yes. See section 213(1)(b)

Yes. See section 213(1)(b)

*language updated from 2.24.16 budget, but still could result in transfer to fee-for service.

No Change N/A
CONSOLIDATED HOMELESS GRANT

CONSOLIDATED HOMELESSNESS GRANT RESTORATION

 

Not Included

+$6.62 Million

+$7.466 Million

+$6.62 Million +$6.62 Million  $4.782 Million from the Home Security Fund and $1.838 Million from the Affordable Housing for All Account (Commerce)

CONSOLIDATED HOMELESSNESS GRANT YOUTH INVESTMENT

 

Not Included

+$787,000

Not Included

+$787,000 +$787,000 Home Security Fund

EMERGENCY HOMELESSNESS INVESTMENTS FUNDED VIA BUDGET STABILIZATION ACCOUNT WITH AUTHORIZATION FROM HB 2988                            

RAPID REHOUSING, BEHAVIORAL HEALTH

 

Not Included

+$5 Million

Not Included

Not Included Not Included N/A

RAPID REHOUSING, FAMILIES

 

 

Not Included

+$2.5 Million

Not Included

Not Included Not Included N/A

RENTAL ASSISTANCE

 

Not Included

+$10 Million

Not Included

Not Included Not Included N/A

PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING SERVICES & SHELTER

 

Not Included

+$19.729 Million

Not Included

Not Included Not Included N/A

YOUTH & YOUNG ADULT HOMELESSNESS INVESTMENTS

HOPE BEDS

 

Not Included

$1.028 Million for 23 HOPE Beds

+1.506 Million for 10 CRC & 18 HOPE Beds

+$1.028 Million for HOPE Beds and  +$1.028 Million for HOPE Beds and +$248,000 for licensing of additional HOPE and CRC beds $1.028 Million for HOPE Beds from the Home Security Fund
CRISIS RESIDENTIAL CENTER (CRC) BEDS Not Included Not Included See above +$714,000 for ten crisis residential centers beds +$714,000 for ten crisis residential centers beds Home Security Fund

YOUNG ADULT SHELTER BEDS

 

Not Included

$420,000

Not Included

+$420,000 +$420,000 $210,000 from the Home Security Fund and $210,000 from the General Fund

STREET YOUTH SERVICES

 

Not Included

$800,000

+555,000
($120,000 set aside for South King County)

+$800,000 ($120,000 set aside for South King County) +$800,000 ($120,000 set aside for South King County) General Fund

HOMELESS STUDENT STABILITY ACT FUNDING (HB 1682)

 

Not Included

+$4 Million

Not Included

Not Included +$2 Million $1 Million for Home Security Fund and $1 Million from General Fund
HOUSING TRUST FUND TRANSFER TO HOME SECURITY FUND AND/OR GENERAL FUND
DURING THE 2015-2017 BIENNIUM, THE LEGISLATURS MAY TRANSFER FROM THE WASHINGTON HOUSING TRUST FUND TO THE HOME SECURITY FUND ACCOUNT AND TO THE STATE GENERAL FUND SUCH AMOUNTS AS REFLECT THE EXCESS BALANCE IN THE FUND. Not Included Not Included Not Included Not Included Section 936, page 324 N/A
OTHER WASHINGTON HOUSING TRUST ACCOUNT TRANSFERS (THIS ACCOUNT FUNDS O&M AND HOUSING TRUST FUND PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT, AMONG OTHER THINGS)
HOUSING TRUST ACCOUNT TRANSFER TO GENERAL FUND 0 0 -$1 Million -$1 Million -$3 Million N/A
HOUSING TRUST ACCOUNT TRANSFER TO HOME SECURITY FUND 0 0 -$4 Million -$4 Million -$7 Million N/A

MEDCAID WAIVER FOR PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING (1115 WAIVER REQUEST SUBMITTED BY DSHS AND HEALTH CARE AUTHORITY)

BUDGET LANGUAGE RESTRICTING USE OF ANY NEW FEDERAL FUNDS OBTAINED FROM THIS WAIVER N/A N/A Yes. See section 213(1)(c) Yes. See section 213(1)(c) - (g) Yes. See section 213(1)(c) - (g) N/A
 

 

CAPITAL BUDGET ITEM

GOVERNOR BUDGET – 12.17.15

HOUSE CAPITAL BUDGET – 2.24.16

SENATE CAPITAL BUDGET –
2.24.16

Final Budget - 3.29.16 Fund Source

WEATHERIZATION MATCHMAKER PROGRAM

+$5 Million

0

0

0 N/A

HOUSING TRUST FUND PORTFOLIO PRESERVATION PROGRAM

+$2.5 Million

0

0

0 N/A

RAPID HOUSING IMPROVEMENTS TO BRING PRIVATE MARKET RENTAL HOMES INTO COMPLIANCE WITH ESTABLISHED HOUSING STANDARDS

+$1.5 Million

0

0

0 N/A

RAPID HOUSING ACQUISITION DEMONSTRATION TO DEVELOP CONGREGATE SMALL UNIT DWELLINGS OR CONVERT SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES INTO MULTI-FAMILY HOMES

+$1.275 Million

0

0

0 N/A

HOUSING TRUST FUND

+$1 Million
For Affordable Senior Housing

-$4.3 Million

0

+3.5 Million $.5 Million from State Taxable Building Construction Account and $3 Million from Washington Housing Trust Account (Commerce)
Housing Trust Fund project set-asides (total dollars, see bill for project details, HB 2380 section 1005) 0 -$4.3 Million 0 -$4.75 Million Housing Trust Fund

LANDLORD MITIGATION FUND (ONLY ACCESSIBLE IN JURISDICTIONS THAT PROHIBIT RENTAL SOURCE OF INCOME DISCRIMINATION)

+$125,000

+$125,000 (from Commerce's Housing Trust Account)

0

+$125,000 Washington Housing Trust  Account (Commerce)

STUDY OF HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES FOR VETERANS EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS & THE CONVERSION OF UNITS TO PROVIDE PSH FOR GERIATRIC VETERANS WITH PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS

+$100,000

+$100,000 (from Commerce’s Housing Trust Account)

0

+$100,000 Washington Housing Trust  Account (Commerce)

HOMELESS YOUTH COMPETITIVE GRANT PROGRAM (INCLUDES SET ASIDES FOR $1.03/COCOON HOUSE AND $1.545/PSKS YOUTH FACILITY IN SEATTLE)

0

+$5 Million

0

0 N/A

RIVERTON PARK HOME-OWNERSHIP PROJECT

0

+$600,000 

0

+$600,000  Ultra energy efficient affordable housing appropriation

MENTAL HEALTH HOUSING HEALTH HOMES

0

0

+$7.5 million 

+$6 Million See section 1005 9(a) $3 Million from State Taxable Building Construction Account and $3 Million from the Washington Housing Trust Account (Commerce)

MENTAL HEALTH HOUSING, FIRST AND DENNY

0

0

$500,000

$500,000 State Building Construction Account
Health Home, Pierce County (contingent on Pierce County passing the MID per RCW 82.14.460) 0 0 0 +$1.5 Million  State Taxable Building Construction Account

 

 


 

The Week In Housing Advocacy - Weeks 3 and 4

Michele Thomas, Director of Policy and Advocacy

Half way through the session, housing issues alive and well!

We are now at the halfway point of the legislative session and we are happy to report that all of our priority issues are still alive and well. Affordable housing and homelessness remains a top issue for many lawmakers, and the near 700 people who came to Olympia on February 2nd for Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day certainly helped!

The last two weeks in Olympia were a flurry of hearings and votes by lawmakers to move bills out of their policy committee before they hit the first deadline or “cutoff” of the session. Tuesday, February 9th brings the second deadline: bills have to clear fiscal committees in order to keep moving. Here is the status of our lead bills and some key support bills as well:
 

Addresses housing options for participants in government assistance programs. (Outlawing Discrimination based on a Renter’s Source of Income.)

HB 1565 by Representative Ormsby

Passed out of House Judiciary Committee on 2/4. Currently in House Rules Committee.

SB 5378 by Senator Miloscia

This bill is dead since it didn’t get a vote in Senate Human Services, Mental Health and Housing Committee. But the House companion (1565) can still pass!

Addresses tenant screening, evictions, and deposit or security refunds under the residential landlord-tenant act.

SB 6413 by Senator Mullet

Passed out of the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee unanimously on 2/3. Currently in Senate Rules.

HB 2811 by Representative Walkinshaw

Passed out the House Judiciary Committee unanimously on 2/4. Currently in House Rules.

Establishes the homeless student stability and opportunity gap act.

SB 6298 by Senator Frockt

Passed the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education unanimously on 1/28. Currently in Senate Ways and Means.

HB 1682 by Representative Fey

Passed out House Appropriations on 1/25. Currently in House Rules.

Authorizes city governing authorities to adopt a property tax exemption program, and county governing authorities to adopt a property tax exemption program for unincorporated jurisdictions, to preserve affordable housing that meets health and quality standards for very low-income households at risk of displacement or that cannot afford market-rate housing.

HB 2544 by Representative Frame

Passed the House Committee on Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs on 2/2 and was heard in House Finance on 2/5.

SB 6239 by Senator Fain

Passed the Senate Human Services, Mental Health and Housing Committee on 2/1 and was heard in Senate Ways and Means on 2/4.

Addresses the sale of manufactured/mobile home communities. (Gives nonprofits the opportunity to purchase).

HB 2799 by Representative McBride

Passed House Judiciary on 2/4 and is scheduled for a hearing in House Finance on 2/8 at 8:00 AM.

Revises the definition of "work activity," for purposes of the WorkFirst program, to increase the threshold from twelve months to twenty-four months for vocational educational training, with respect to any individual.

HB 1875 by Representative Walsh

Passed the House last year and is now in House Rules.

 

Time to Speak Up for the Housing Trust Fund!

Budget writers are right now negotiating what to include in their budget proposals. The House will come out first with their budgets, sometime around Presidents Day. Since the budgets are not ready, there is still time to make sure that the Housing Trust Fund is funded at $10 million. Take action today and challenge your colleagues, friends and family to join you

Senator Sharon Nelson and Senate Democrats introduce the “Bring Washington Home Act”

On Thursday, February 4th, SB 6647/Nelson “The Bring Washington Home Act” was introduced. This bill will allocate $186 million to affordable housing & homelessness from the “rainy day fund”. With leverage from tax credits and local sources overall, it will invest a total of $300 million in affordable housing and homelessness programs! This is a bold proposal to address the crisis of homelessness that every community in our state is facing. The most basic duty of government is to protect its residents from danger, and our state is failing if even one person is forced to sleep outdoors. But we are failing miserably when thousands suffer this fate every night. All levels of government need to step up, including the federal government, but the Washington State Legislature must do more.

Senator Nelson’s bold proposal should be endorsed by all lawmakers, but it is possible that it won’t be given a hearing in the Senate. Some lawmakers have asserted that homelessness is only a problem in Seattle. If you’d like to join our letter to editor campaign to shine a spotlight on homelessness in every community in our state, please contact Teresa Clark today.
Check out the press conference on the bill’s release here.
And read our press statement here.

State Releases New Homeless Public School Student Numbers and Finds 9.1% Increase

On February 2nd, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) reported that 35,511 students were homeless in the 2014-15 school year. This is a 9.1 % increase from the previous school year and represents 3.3% of all public school students. OSPI reports that the four-year graduation rate for homeless students in the class of 2015 was 51.9% while the rate for all students was 78.1%.

According to our partners at Columbia Legal Services, the new data reveals that homelessness continues to disproportionately impact students of color. African American, American Indian, and Latino students are 2 to 3 times more likely to be homeless. CLS estimates that between 2,600 and 4,400 of these students may be unaccompanied homeless youth who are not in the custody of a parent or guardian.

You can see how many students were reported as homeless in your local school district here

Lots of Media Interest in bill that bans Source of Income Discrimination

Media interest in a bill can be hard to come by, but there has been a lot of interest in our efforts to outlaw source of income discrimination. These articles are a valuable tool for educating lawmakers and the general public alike. Please spread the word by sharing them via your social media networks. And special thanks to John, Carissa, Mindy, and the many other tenants who have been sharing their personal stories with lawmakers and reporters.

Vouchers little help if landlords reject them
Olympian Editorial Board

Tenants on public aid find some doors closed
By Jordan Schrader, Tacoma News Tribune

Lawmakers try to prevent discrimination of tenants with housing vouchers
By Natasha Chen, KIRO 7

Bring your Board of Directors to Olympia!

With half of the session left to go, there is still time to bring your board of directors to Olympia to meet with lawmakers. And the Housing Alliance can help. If you are interested in learning more about the logistics and benefits of getting your board involved, please contact Teresa Clark at TeresaC@wliha.org. If getting everyone to Olympia seems daunting, you could also consider “virtual meetings” with your lawmakers. Contact us soon to talk more about getting your board involved during this legislative session.

Thank you for your advocacy and don’t forget to take action today for the Housing Trust Fund.

Sincerely,
Michele

2016 Supplemental Budget 1.0 – Our Analysis

The Housing Alliance Policy and Advocacy Team

Governor Jay Inslee introduced his 2016 Supplemental Budget Proposal on December 17, 2015. The release of the Governor’s budget signifies the beginning of the state’s supplemental budget development process and sets the tone for the upcoming legislative session. We are pleased to report that the Governor’s proposal protects vital homelessness safety net programs and makes a number of positive, targeted investments to expand access to affordable housing. 

Before delving into the budget details—here is a quick refresher of our state’s budget process. Washington’s budget operates on a two-year, biennial calendar. On odd years, such as 2015, the legislature passes a full biennial budget. On even years, like 2016, the legislature passes a smaller supplemental budget that amends the larger budget to reflect the changing needs within our state, such as natural disasters, caseload changes, and emerging issues in our economy and local communities.

The Governor’s Supplemental Operating Budget proposes $2.8 million in new housing services, and his Supplemental Capital Budget proposal includes $11.5 million in new affordable housing investments (scroll to bottom of post for details). In addition to housing investments, the Governor’s budget also appropriates new funding for our state’s mental health system and modest investments for other community needs.

Affordable housing, homelessness, and other important community programs were protected and received modest investments because the Governor opted to close four tax-loopholes to raise revenue. We applaud the Governor’s leadership in examining and closing tax-loopholes. We urge the legislature to build upon these loophole closures and raise additional new revenue so our state has adequate resources to ensure all people have access to safe, healthy, and affordable homes. Check out the Washington State Budget & Policy Center’s blog post for a more in-depth analysis of the tax-loophole closures in the Governor’s proposal.

The Governor took an important step forward by introducing a supplemental budget proposal that protects our homelessness safety net and makes a number of targeted investments to expand access to affordable housing. Thus, we encourage you contact Governor Inslee to thank him for his continued commitment to expanding access to safe, healthy, and affordable homes.   
Here’s how you can contact Governor Jay Inslee: 

Last of all, we hope you can join us in Olympia on February 2, 2016 for our annual Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day! This is a great opportunity to meet directly with your lawmakers during the legislative session and share why funding affordable housing and homeless programs is a priority for you. 

Governor’s Supplemental Budget Summary

Operating Budget Homelessness Safety Net Appropriations 

Governor Inslee’s Operating Budget proposal includes $2.8 million in new housing service investments and protects critical homelessness safety net programs. 

  • $2,800,000 is for supportive housing services and short-term rental assistance for people leaving or at risk of needing inpatient behavioral health services. Services will be delivered through four new housing and recovery services teams modeled after the Housing and Recovery Through Peer Services (HARPS) Program
  • Aged, Blind, and Disabled (ABD) Program is protected—no cuts and no additional investments were made. ABD helps permanently disabled adults and elderly immigrants meet their basic needs by providing modest cash assistance. 
  • Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) is protected—no cuts and no additional investments were made. HEN provides rental and utility assistance to adults with temporary disabilities while they are recovering. 
  • Medical Care Services (MCS) is protected—no cuts and no additional investments were made. MCS provides health coverage to people who receive financial support through the Aged, Blind, and Disabled program but are unable to receive Medicaid health coverage. 
  • SSI Facilitation Services are protected—no cuts and no additional investments were made. These services assist permanently disabled adults reach economic security by applying for federal SSI benefits. 
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is protected—no cuts and no additional investments were made. TANF helps low-income families with children meet their basic needs through a modest cash grant and services. 

Capital Budget Affordable Housing Appropriations

Governor Inslee’s Capital Budget proposal includes $11.5 million in new affordable housing investments. This allocation represents a significant percentage of the overall Capital Budget and includes the following appropriations:

  • $5,000,000 is for the Weatherization Matchmaker Program to help make low-income homes more energy efficient.
  • $2,500,000 is for the Housing Trust Fund Portfolio Preservation Program to preserve existing housing trust fund projects operated by local housing authorities and serving very low-income and homeless households. 
  • $1,500,000 is for rapid housing improvements to bring private market rental homes into compliance with established housing standards in order to improve access to housing for families using rental assistance programs. Property owners will be required to maintain the unit for housing choice voucher recipients for an appropriate period of time after repairs are completed. 
  • $1,275,000 is for a rapid housing acquisition demonstration to develop congregate small unit dwellings or convert single-family homes into multi-family homes. 
  • $1,000,000 is for the Housing Trust Fund to build affordable senior housing. 
  • $125,000 is to create a landlord mitigation fund available to landlords who have rented to tenants with housing choice vouchers and whose rental units are in a jurisdiction that prohibits denying tenancy based solely on the applicant's source of income. 
  • $100,000 is for a study of housing opportunities for veterans experiencing homelessness and the conversion of units to provide permanent supportive housing for geriatric veterans with psychiatric disorders.

 


 

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