Campion’s 2020 Legislative Priorities in Washington
Last week, the Washington State Legislature kicked off the 2020 legislative session in Olympia, and with it, a new opportunity to show our state’s commitment to ensuring that everyone has a safe place to sleep at night. We made great strides last session, but there’s a lot more work to do. We can end homelessness in Washington, and the state must be a key player in expanding resources and implementing policies that help people in need of housing.
Governor Jay Inslee started the conversation by releasing a bold proposal in his supplemental budget, calling for a dramatic $300 increase in emergency services to help bring people inside. We’re grateful to the Governor for providing real leadership on this issue.
Increasing emergency services is an important step, but we also need to expand affordable housing across the state. Access to affordable housing is the largest driver of homelessness, and that is why we are supporting a $10 million increase to the Housing Trust Fund in the supplemental budget with our partner, the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance. This increase will build upon the $175 million allocated last session and will focus on maintaining affordable homes in rural areas.
We will also be closely following the work of our partners focused on creating a statewide system to prevent and end youth homelessness. We believe that Washington state can be the first state to end youth homelessness and that our Governor and Legislature are laying the groundwork for that to happen in partnership with our friends at A Way Home Washington, The Mockingbird Society, and Schoolhouse Washington. To do this, we support:
- Implementing HB 6560 to ensure that state systems such as foster care and juvenile justice have the resources and policies in place to avoid discharging youth from state care into homelessness.
- Scaling solutions that we know work through increased funding to the Office of Homeless Youth and Homeless Student Stability Program
- Making reforms to how our state views minors arrested for prostitution. We support the Safe Harbors bill that treats these young people as the victims they are and puts them on a path towards stabilization, not jail.
We are also thankful for the special recognition that Governor Inslee gave to A Way Home Washington’s Anchor Community Initiative in his annual State of the State address, spotlighting the important work that AWHWA and First Lady Inslee are doing across the state to end youth homelessness in four key communities.
For more on Campion’s legislative priorities, please check out our 2020 Legislative Agenda. And if you’re looking to get more involved, please join us and our partners at Youth Advocacy Day on January 31st and Homelessness and Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day on February 3rd. During each of these advocacy days we’ll be personally connecting with our state’s leaders to let them know that ending homelessness in Washington state is a top priority for communities and families all across our great state.