via Eastside Interfaith Gathering:
We have made tremendous progress in organizing and advocating for structural changes in affordable housing and homelessness in Washington State. Good news – Collective, Interfaith Advocacy makes a difference:
- SB 5160 was signed into law on 4/22 by Governor Inslee! WA low-income tenants have a Right to Counsel! The Governor vetoed two sections.
- HB 1236 – Just Cause was signed by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate. It was delivered to the Governor on 4/22.
- HB 1220 – Growth Management Act – was signed by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate. It was delivered to the Governor on 4/22.
Further Action Needed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday:
HB 1277 permanent funding for rental assistance – is stuck on the Senate Floor. We each need to urge our Senator to vote YES and vote HB 1277 off the Senate Floor.
Change of plans – call your Senator’s office directly – find your Senator’s office phone number here: https://app.leg.wa.gov/Rosters/Members/Senate
Here is a script from Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, WLIHA:
My name is ____________. I’m calling to leave a message for my Senator:
HB 1277 needs your vote. Please stand up and demand passage before it is too late.
This bill is a critical piece of the eviction moratorium off-ramp needed to prevent a massive increase in homelessness in our state.
This bill must be passed before session ends on Sunday.
Please vote yes and demand that HB 1277 be brought up for a vote now.
Place the call your Senator multiple times, not just once. Time is off the essence.
Below is more information for you on HB 1277.
Why is it important that I call my Senator’s office directly?
- A few days ago I asked you to call the WA Legislative Hotline (1-800-562-6000 (the hotline operator asks for your name and address to direct your message to the appropriate lawmaker) to reach your Senator. Thank you.
- On Friday we learned that the WA Legislative Hotline is quite busy and compiling phone calls and packaging them into emails and emailing them to legislators’ offices.
- We also learned that Legislative staff are a few days behind in opening emails, so change of plans – call your Senator’s office directly – and you can do so every ten minutes. Use the 4 bullet points in the script above.
Why is it so important that HB 1277 pass the Senate and be signed into law by the Governor?
- To support the systemic legislative remedies to avoid evictions.
- Recall three bills (HB 1236, HB 1277 and SB 5160) were critical to address evictions and one bill (HB 1220) was critical to address zoning and stop the banning of shelters and low-income affordable housing.
- HB 1236, HB 1220 and SB 5160 have passed; HB 1277 is stuck and needs to be voted off of the Senate floor.
What does HB 1277 do?
- Creates a much-needed funding source for operations and maintenance of permanent supportive housing (PSH), the research-backed solution to homelessness. PSH uniquely has 24/7 staff and on-site services that are the key to ensuring that the model works.
- Allocates 5% of the total funds to this Operating & Maintenance funding source, which will go a long way toward ending homelessness in our region.
- Invests in the landlord mitigation fund which is a win-win for landlords and tenants. This fund allows landlords to cover the costs of damages and unpaid rent after a low-income, subsidized tenant vacates the unit.
- Permanently dedicates 2% of the fee to this program and a House amendment at the request of the landlord lobby temporarily increases that to 4%.
Why are we trying to stop evictions?
Answer: Evictions are the largest cause of homelessness in Washington State.
How do we know evictions cause homelessness?
Two studies* that the Eastside Interfaith Gathering (EIG) reviewed substantiate that evictions are the main cause of homelessness in our communities.
- King County (2018 “Losing Home” KCBA/Seattle Women’s Commission) and
- Washington State (2020 “The Evictions Study” Univ. Washington).
How many Washingtonians are at risk of losing their housing during COVID-19?
Over ½ a million Washingtonians are at risk of becoming homeless:
- The number of Washingtonians unable to pay their rent during the COVID-19 pandemic has risen to >211,000.
- This number of Washingtonians who have been withdrawing from their savings and retirement accounts and charging on their credit cards to pay the rent during COVID-19 is up to ~400,000.
What skills can the Interfaith community bring?
Understanding of the importance of Tenacity – Persistence – Repetition – Ritual
What tools can an interfaith community member bring?
A caring heart, a human voice and a telephone
How frequently does an individual need to take this action?
- Put your Senator’s number in your phone’s call list.
- Call now and once every hour.
- Call now and once every 10 minutes (per WLIHA’s Michele Thomas’ Friday afternoon suggestion)
- Call today/Friday, Saturday and Sunday. (Session ends midnight on Sunday.)
Image by https://www.flickr.com/photos/lynnfriedman