Safety net

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 05/06/2020

COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Provider Stakeholder Call 05/06/2020
 
Speakers on 5/06/2020 Call
 
 
Please click the above link to contact your members of Congress today and 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;
  • $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;
  • $8.5 billion to ensure that public housing authorities can continue to operate at full capacity;
  • A uniform, national moratorium on evictions and foreclosures;
  • Resources for housing counselors and legal services to help renters and homeowners stay housed; and a requirement that local communities follow guidance by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and institute a moratorium on homeless encampment sweeps.
  •  
Resources from 05/06/2020
As always, several resources were highlighted in the chat that are worth uplifting: 

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 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

 

 

 

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