Last week was a busy week for housing and homelessness advocates. First, the House passed its proposed budget, a huge improvement over the Senate’s version.
On Wednesday at noon, the House Appropriations Committee released their proposed budget and then passed it through the House of Representatives late Friday night. The House’s proposed budget protects important parts of our state’s safety net and includes revenue. It preserves funding for:
- Housing and Essential Needs (HEN)
- Aged, Blind and Disabled (ABD)
- Working Connections Child Care
- Consolidated Homeless Grants (CHG) which funds homeless housing programs across the state, including domestic violence shelters, transitional housing for families, and short-term rent assistance.
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
The House also allocated $71 million for the Housing Trust Fund, more than double what the Senate allocated. This is very important, however, it is still well below the $175 million that we need in our state to create housing that is affordable to low income and working families.
On April 10, the same day that the House released their budget, our friends at Poverty Action issued a call to action to “Save our Safety Net.” We joined them in urging our members to call Olympia to tell their legislators to protect Washington’s safety net. We had some surprising evidence (in addition to people e-mailing us and posting on our facebook page) that lots of people took action: last Wednesday evening, members of the Coalition’s Board of Directors made their calls to the free Legislative Hotline. Board president Emily Meyer called, and began to deliver our short message. After her first few words, “Please vote for full funding for vital programs,” the hotline operator recited the rest of our message back to her, “that really help families and people with disabilities in our community: HEN, ABD, TANF. Please include new revenue and end tax giveaways in the final budget. Thank you.” Now that is what we call effective advocacy!!
Now that both houses are in the process of negotiating our final budget, please use Poverty Action’s handy email template to keep this message in front of your legislators: our safety net must be protected in the final budget, and our state needs revenue.
The Fair Tenant Screening Act has passed the House and is headed for the Governor’s desk!
We had a piece of GREAT NEWS: on Friday, Part II of the Fair Tenant Screening Act passed the House unanimously and moved on to the Governor’s desk for signature. Thanks for the tireless advocacy of the Tenants Union, the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, and all of you for helping this bill become law!