Only days in to the Washington State Legislature’s short session, the Campion Advocacy Fund is on the ground in Olympia championing policies and funding that will help to ensure that homelessness becomes a rare occurrence in our state. There are great opportunities to build on the successes of the 2015 session and move the ball forward on ensure that everyone has a safe, affordable place to live. Here are our priorities for the 2016 session:
We support additional resources to address the needs of homeless youth.
- Homeless Student Stability and Achievement Gap Act (PDF) This bill would provide homeless student liaisons in school districts with the highest numbers of homeless students. Homeless student liaisons provide a critical link to services in the local community for homeless families, increasing the chances that homeless students stay in schools. The bill also fosters innovative partnerships between school districts and housing providers, similar to the successful McCarver Elementary model in Tacoma.
- Increase the number of HOPE beds around the state. (PDF) HOPE beds provide safe, temporary residential placements for at-risk youth. Increasing the number of beds available under this program will ensure that youth currently living on the street will have better options and connections to services.
We support building affordable housing so that everyone has a safe and healthy place to call home.
- Increase funding to the Housing Trust Fund (PDF) Access to affordable housing is key to preventing homelessness. We ask that affordable housing programs — such as the Housing Trust Fund — get additional funding in the Capital Budget for construction and maintenance funding. In the last 25 years, the Housing Trust Fund program has created or maintained over 40,000 affordable units.
We support funding to assist some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
- Support of the Housing & Essential Needs (HEN) and Aged, Blind and Disabled (ABD) programs (PDF) These programs are a critical safety net for those experiencing temporary and long term disabilities. The ABD programs helps people stay afloat until their applications for federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is approved.
We look forward to a successful session thanks to the hard work of our partner organizations!