Homelessness

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
 

COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Provider Stakeholder Call 4/22/2020

COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Provider Stakeholder Call 4/22/2020

Here is a link to the 4/22/2020 recording

 

Speakers from 4/22/2020:

  

Action Alert: Take action today and email your members of congress!

Ask them to ensure that the next stimulus package includes:

  • $11.5 billion in Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funding. This combined with the $4 billion previously provided in the CARES Act will reach the funding level needed to expand access to emergency shelter, short-term rental assistance, and housing stabilization services;
  • A uniform, national moratorium on evictions and foreclosures; and
  • $100 billion in rental assistance to keep people housed and ensure landlords, including low-income housing providers, have the income they need to continue to operate.

 

Resources Highlighted: 

COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Provider Stakeholder Call 4/08/2020

Resources for Weekly COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Call - 04/08/2020

Here is a link to the recording of the 4/08/2020 call.

 

Speakers 04/08/2020

 

Tracking Federal Funding:  Here is a link to Denny Heck's bill, providing $100B for emergency rental assistance. 

Action Alert: Take action in support of this bill here

 

Resources Highlighted: 

COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Provider Stakeholder Call 3/25/2020

Weekly COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Call - 03/25/2020

3-25-20 COVID-19 Call Recording

 

Speakers:

 As we continue to elevate the need and build the case for extending the eviction moratorium and appropriating rental assistance funding at the state and national level, we will need data and stories to present as evidence (even when to us the need is already clear). If you track data at your organization, or if you would like to help people share their stories, please connect with me ASAP at johns@wliha.org.

 

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

Just Housing: A small group with big wins in Thurston County

Reiny Cohen, Director of Communications

Hi! We’re trying something new here at our blog, and I hope you like it. We want to start using this space to highlight some of the great work that organizations are doing around the state to combat homelessness, and grow the movement for safe, healthy, affordable homes for everyone in Washington. And for this first installment, we’re looking at Thurston County.

Recently, I had the privilege of talking with Tye Gundel of Just Housing. Have you heard of Just Housing? It’s a small, scrappy, grassroots organization moving mountains with their work. And a few weeks ago they organized an incredible win – by crushing legislation that would’ve made surviving outside illegal in Lacey, WA.


25 people lined up to testify against Lacey's plan to criminalize homelessness

Each person who testified presented a flower to the councilmembers. The flowers were in honor of one of their unsheltered neighbors who said "We are all flowers honey. I may be old, but even I still bloom every morning." 

First, a little backstory: Just Housing is an all volunteer organization co-founded by Tye Gundel and Renata Rollins. Formed in May of 2016, Just Housing combats the laws in Olympia and Thurston County that make surviving outside and experiencing homelessness illegal. With the help of dozens of organizers - including people with direct experience of housing instability and homelessness - social service providers, progressive organizations, and even a few elected officials at their side, Just Housing has become a force to be reckoned with. They’ve increased access to 24 hour restrooms for people surviving outside, opened and ran emergency shelter last October, stopped people and their belongings from being swept by police, and are on a mission to overturn sit/lie and camping bans in Olympia. And while their work is often focused in the city limits of Olympia, they actually serve three jurisdictions in Thurston County.

When word got out that Lacey City Council was trying to quietly pass a new law criminalizing homelessness at their meeting on July 28, 2017, Just Housing sprang into action. With just two days notice they activated their 400 person email list, called volunteers, arranged carpools, and organized more than 30 people - a large majority of the overall turnout - to overwhelm that city council meeting. When the council saw more than 25 people lined up out the door to speak on the issue, they removed the vote from their agenda and opened up the meeting for public comment. Everyone who showed up to testify brought with them a flower, and attached to it the name of someone who was currently experiencing homelessness, or who had died trying to survive outside. They handed these flowers, one by one, to the council members as they each gave their public comment. The flowers were in honor of one of their unsheltered neighbors who said "We are all flowers honey. I may be old, but even I still bloom every morning." 

It was a powerful display of community organizing, and a centering of the voices and experiences of people who are surviving outside. The Lacey City Council listened, and has tabled this conversation for the time being.

But there is still significant work to be done. Mayor Andy Ryder of Lacey has said their legislation was modeled after what they see as success in Olympia - a city that has unapologetically criminalized homelessness for years. In Olympia, it is illegal to be outside – camping, sitting, or lying down in public spaces. There is inadequate shelter for the number of people who need it and Olympia city government lacks the political will to expand capacity. So where do folks go if they can’t sit, lie, or camp while trying to survive outside? Tye Gundel says “In Olympia, sometimes jail is the most accessible form of housing we have.”

With their current campaign, Legalize Survival, Just Housing is doing significant work to roll back the laws that are harming people who have no choice but to live outside. Every Tuesday, Just Housing shows up at the Olympia City Council meetings, where volunteers testify about what it means to have to live outside. After public comment closes, they hold a Street Assembly on the sidewalk, and folks who have historically been locked out of the conversation have a chance to be heard. Then, 20-30 people camp out on the sidewalk in protest of the no camping laws.

   

If you'd like to read more about Just Housing in the media, check out these articles about their public actions: Protesting an eviction, organizing in Olympia, and gaining bathroom access

If you want to join them on Tuesdays for their city council action, or learn more about what Just Housing does, visit their facebook page. Follow hashtags #LegalizeSurvival and #JustHousing. They also have a fundraising page here. All funds go to survival supplies and legal fees

Join the Just Housing email list by contacting justhousingoly@gmail.com

And for tips on how to legalize survival in your area, check out our Toolkit to Combat the Criminalization of Homelessness.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Homelessness