Action for Homes #14

Housing Champion Focus: Governor Jay Inslee

The Governor at the Bremerton Homelessness Round Table Nov. 2019

The Governor at the Bremerton Homelessness Round Table Nov. 2019

Housing Champion Focus: Governor Jay Inslee

The Governor is a fifth-generation Washingtonian who grew up in Seattle and along with his wife, Trudi raised his three sons in Selah near Yakima while he worked as an attorney and prosecutor. Before becoming the Governor in 2012, he was the State Representative for the 14th Legislative District and a member of Congress.

Over these years, Governor Inslee has truly been a housing champion. “As I travel through Washington communities — from rural areas to mid-size towns to big cities — I hear about the homeless crisis from local leaders, service providers and the individuals themselves. While situations vary, it is clear that Washingtonians agree we need to do more to bring people inside. We must have a response that matches the scale of the crisis.”  

On March 23, 2020, Governor Inslee quickly put into place a “Stay home, stay healthy” order followed by eviction and foreclosure protections for Washington renters and homeowners.His leadership in issuing a strong eviction moratorium – and extending it as the public health crisis continued – has kept people in their homes and likely saved lives. A national study released last fall found that in places where eviction moratoria were lifted earlier, more people contracted COVID-19 and more people died.

Last December, Governor Inslee released a bold and visionary 2021-2023 Biennial Budget Proposal. It includes the kind of investments needed to keep people in their homes and make more affordable housing and shelter available across the state. His proposed budget included $250 million for the state Housing Trust Fund, $328 million for rental assistance, $70 million to buy hotels, motels, and other underused properties and convert them into shelter and permanent housing. Overall, his proposal included more than $750 million in new funding for affordable housing and preventing homelessness. “My focus is on helping our state recover from the health and economic impacts of the pandemic,” Inslee said. “I also want to continue to make investments in all the programs that people need to help them through these times. This is not the time for budget cuts — this is a time for investing in Washington.”

We are fortunate to have a strong housing champion leading our state’s COVID-19 response, and ensuring that people don’t lost their homes during a global pandemic!

For more on Jay Inslee, visit his website.  

Also, check out the Governor's Medium article.

Staff introduction: Duaa-Rahemaah Williams! 

Duua-Raheema Williams

Photo credit: Alex Lockett, BrewCity Flash Photography

We are very excited that Duaa-Rahemaah Williams has joined our team! As the new Statewide Organizer she will work with leaders and members of the Resident Action Project (RAP) to build power with people impacted by housing insecurity and homelessness throughout Washington.

Duaa-Rahemaah, can you tell us where you are located and what you did before coming to the Housing Alliance?

I was born and raised in King County and currently live in Spokane. I have both lived experience of homelessness and housing instability and a B.A.S. (Bachelor’s in Arts and Science) in Applied Behavioral Science. I have worked as a case manager for families, veterans, and those needing supportive services. I worked as an Emergency Assistance Specialist providing financial assistance to get people into housing as well as preventing people from being evicted. I have done some organizing, however I never considered myself an organizer. An advocate yes, an organizer no. I did get the honor to organize and plan a resource event for families and the community for the BPC (Black Prisoner Caucus.) I encouraged family and friends of those incarcerated to be a voice for their loved ones, by becoming part of the local family council.   

What brought you to the Housing Alliance?

I have participated in Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Days and the Conference on Ending Homeless for some years now. In 2019 I had the honor to participate on two panels on housing and criminal barriers and housing and intersections hosted by the Housing Alliance in Olympia. I really respect the work that the Housing Alliance does around housing and homelessness issues. Housing advocacy is a passion of mine, as well as talking and meeting new people. When this job came across my desk, I knew in my spirit that it was for me! 

What do you hope to do as the new Statewide Organizer and manager of the RAP program?

I want to continue to build on the foundation that has already been established, develop and encourage new leaders and start new RAP chapters across Washington.

If you’re interested in learning more about our RAP, reach out to Duaa-Raheema at

Capitol Recaps! 

It's the second to last week of session, and the wins continue to come. Over the weekend, HB 1220/Peterson passed off the Senate floor by a narrow margin of 25-24! This bill promotes racial justice and social equity by requiring local jurisdictions to review and work to address the history of redlining and other policies of exclusion and racially disparate impacts from zoning and land use laws.  In order to counteract these historically-exclusionary policies, the bill requires local jurisdictions to plan for housing at all income levels and provide for adequate land capacity to meet those needs. In addition, it requires cities to identify through ordinance those internal zones in which emergency shelters and emergency housing are appropriate in the eyes of the jurisdiction. We are thrilled this bill passed -- major shoutouts to Futurewise's leadership on this, plus all of the key advocates who weighed in. 
HB 1236/Macri passed out of the Senate last week, and the House concurred on Tuesday! The bill, which has an emergency clause, will soon head to the Governor's desk for signature. 
HB 1277/Ormsby was voted out of the Ways & Means Committee on Monday and currently awaits a floor vote in the Senate. The bill creates a permanent source of emergency rental assistance and eviction prevention funds, as well as a sorely needed funding source for operations and maintenance of permanent supportive housing. All of this will promote housing stability for low-income renters now and throughout the economic recovery. We are excited this bill is moving forward, as it's the third major piece of the legislative package to prevent mass evictions in Washington. Many, many advocates have weighed in on this bill throughout the session, and our collective voices are making a huge difference.
As many of you have heard, SB 5160/Kuderer took a very bad amendment upon its final passage last week, which re-states that the Governor's eviction moratorium shall end on June 30, 2021. No matter how you interpret the language's effect on Gov. Inslee's authority, a political message has been sent that some lawmakers are fine with the moratorium expiring before the right to counsel program is fully implemented. We know it is bad policy to let the moratorium expire before the next set of protections is ready to go, and we will continue to fight for an extension. Please join us by urging your Senators to not concur on the Caldier amendment, and asking the House to recede from it. You can make these asks, along with a final push on HB 1277, by taking action here. 

Action Alert!  

Tell your lawmakers: Pass HB 1277 off the Senate floor! 

Advocates, we need the Senate to pass HB 1277/Ormsby off the floor ASAP. Will you send an email today?  

HB 1277 has passed out of Senate Ways & Means, and we need a big push to get the bill pulled to the floor for a final vote! HB 1277 is a critical piece of legislation to prevent an increase in homelessness. While significant one-time rental assistance is coming into Washington from the federal government, many low-income renters will need an ongoing safety net. In fact, more than 400,000 renters are currently caught up on rent but are exhausting their savings, selling assets and maxing out credit cards to meet basic needs. This foreshadows a second, delayed crisis, by which time federal funds will likely be used up. The state must think long-term to prevent tenants from  facing eviction and homelessness. HB 1277 fills this gap by funding eviction and homelessness prevention to keep people in their homes. Critically, the bill also funds operations and maintenance of permanent supportive housing. Permanent Supportive Housing is the solution to long-term unsheltered homelessness and a permanent fund source for the operations is needed to match capital investments to bring this effective solution to scale.  

You can send an email by completing the form to the right. Thank you!