The Coalition’s State Legislative Priorities

The State Legislative Session has begun! Check back here for an updated list of our top legislative priorities. Last updated 3/1/24 at 12:30 PM. Bills That are Still “Alive” Fund affordable housing & shelter (HB 2276, SB 6191, $70 million budget request to backfill the document recording fee shortfall) HB 2276 and SB 6191 would fund more affordable housing through the Housing Trust Fund by increasing taxes on the sale of real estate over approx. $3 million, and decreasing taxes on the sale of less valuable real estate. Because these bills are “necessary to implement the budget”, they are not subject to legislative cutoff dates. In addition, we need approx. $70 MILLION added to the budget to prevent cuts to homelessness shelter and services. This is due to a shortfall in Document Recording Fees collected in recent years. We can’t afford to lose any capacity in these vital services. Address high insurance costs for housing providers (HB 2329) – PASSED THE LEGISLATURE Organizations that provide housing for people with low or no income face astronomical costs to insure their buildings, and these costs are quickly going up each year. HB 2329 would commission a study to learn why costs are increasing so dramatically, and would make recommendations to the legislature to help fix the problem. The legislature often commissions studies as an early step towards fixing a problem, and this is a step in the right direction. Reinstate the child support pass-through (HB 1652) – PASSED THE LEGISLATURE This bill would ensure that low-income families get their whole child support payment. Currently, the State takes a chunk of child support payments before passing the payment on to low-income families receiving TANF benefits. Help people keep TANF benefits when they need them (HB 2007) Note: this bill has been amended multiple …

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Who says “we can’t build our way out of homelessness”?

Guest blog post by Rachael Myers, Executive Director, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance. We frequently hear the phrase “we can’t build our way out of homelessness.” It’s a talking point that people often use when advocating for important strategies like safe places for homeless folks to camp or rapid rehousing programs. Everyone is making the same, valuable point – given our current resources, we need to address the problem using all the tools we have available. I know we all agree on that point so let’s start saying that directly. “We can’t build our way out of homelessness” doesn’t accurately convey what we mean and is in fact harmful to our efforts to generate more resources to expand housing for people experiencing homelessness. A few thoughts about why this is a problem: The statement assumes that there is a resistance or ignorance among federal, state, and local policy makers regarding housing people experiencing homelessness in ways other than building housing. In fact federal, state, and local policy makers have for years recognized and invested in other methods of getting people housed like Section 8 vouchers, state and local vouchers, or other rapid rehousing efforts. It is harmful because it singles out one valuable approach to housing people experiencing homelessness as ineffective. If we can’t build our way out of the problem why should we invest in the Housing Trust Fund or tax ourselves for our local housing levy? The fact is given enough resources we can build our way out of the problem. We could potentially also voucher our way out of the problem, again with enough resources, enough landlords willing to accept people experiencing homelessness, and supportive services for those who need that level of help. We need to do both, and more. Again, the point we all agree …

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Recap: Coalition’s General Meeting — February 20, 2014

What we wouldn’t give to get a couple of extra days at the end of February. Do you feel the same? It’s a good thing we’ve been posting these abbreviated meeting notes so that you can make the most out of the time you have! Last week’s General Member Meeting was quite timely, what with the Legislative Session over half-way through and the next phase of Reduced Fare actions taking place. Be sure to catch up if you missed out, or refresh on details if you attended. Here’s what happened at the latest General Member Meeting, held on February 20, 2014. As a reminder, the General Member Meeting takes place every third Thursday of the month from 9.00 – 11.00 a.m. at the East Cherry YWCA (2820 E. Cherry Street in Seattle). For more information, check our website’s Members’ tab for a link to the ‘Committees & Meetings’ page, or simply follow this link to take you there directly. Our next General Member Meeting is Thursday, March 20, 2014. __________________ 2014 One Night Count Discussion: What did you think? What did you hear? What are the implications for your work? Your community? Many people spoke about their 2014 One Night Count experiences: Some shared that more people were awake and moving around between 2-5 a.m.. One individual noted the dissonance in counting people who are homeless amid high rises and malls. A new Team Captain from this year’s count said she took away an extra dose of compassion and humility. A first-time counter, who was able to count in his home neighborhood, noted how different it was to see people who are homeless at night than during the day, and was also surprised at the wide age range of people who were counted. A first-time Team Captain but returning counter mentioned that this year he saw …

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