As more Washington cities declare housing crises, advocates from all over gather in Olympia for legislative solutions.
Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 8am-4pm
Convening & Workshops
The United Churches of Olympia
Advocacy Day Rally
Meeting with Legislators
February 12, 2014
Contact: Joaquin (WAH keen) Uy (wee)
206.427.2999 (text or call), joaquin-@-wliha(.)org
Last year, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction found more than 32,000 homeless young students across Washington with Native American and Black K-12 students three times more likely to be homeless than their White peers.
In addition, the Department of Commerce determined more than 390,000 households in the state spend more than 50% of their income on housing per year.
And most recently, Columbian op-ed Affordable Housing Crisis authors admitted that regarding the issue of affordable housing, “Vancouver is a midsized city with a big-city problem.” The city joins Seattle in having local elected officials and journalists admit they are in an affordable housing crisis.
Lawmakers are under additional tremendous pressure to adequately fund basic education and mental health services. That’s why one of our loudest calls to action for Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day is for the Legislature to pass new sources of revenue to fund innovative programs that can meet the state’s growing education, mental health, and affordable housing needs.
Housing Alliance Executive Director Rachael Myers believes the state’s resources and brainpower is out-of-sync with our current homelessness statistics. “It’s outrageous that a state as wealthy as Washington, with companies who’ve made fortunes on innovative technologies has the most regressive tax system in the country and such a shockingly huge affordable housing shortage. I think most Washington residents agree that everyone, especially kids, should have opportunities to succeed. But these opportunities seem to continue shrinking.”
That’s why our State Legislative Agenda includes three significant tenant protection bills designed to eliminate barriers to a home and to increase opportunities:
- Fair Tenant Screening Act – SB 5123 / HB 1257
Ensures that if an applicant can supply a landlord with a secure, current, and comprehensive tenant screening report, the landlord would not be able to charge the tenant for a new report.
- Truth in Evictions Reporting Act – SB 5376 / HB 1460
Ensures that evictions are reported only when a tenant was proven guilty.
- Source of Income Discrimination Protections – SB 5378 / HB 1565
Prevents landlords from categorically denying housing to all tenants relying on a lawful housing subsidy or lawful income supports to help pay the rent, like a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher.
It also includes a call for $100 million for the Housing Trust Fund to create affordable homes all over the state. The Governor’s budget proposal includes $100 million for affordable homes, including $75 million for the Housing Trust Fund.
The Housing Alliance has organized a full day, including legislator meetings, advocacy workshops, and a rally on the north steps of the Capitol Building. The Advocacy Day rally will feature a bipartisan slate of speakers who share our housing and homelessness concerns: Sen. Cyrus Habib (D-Kirkland), Sen. Steve O’Ban (R-University Place), Rep. June Robinson (D-Everett), and Rep. Maureen Walsh (R-Walla Walla).