Spotlight: Your advocacy means the world to us, and so many others!
Photo of Resident Action Project chapter members based in New Tacoma Apartments, Tacoma. They are holding signs emphasizing the need for more affordable housing and tenant protections.
Attention, attention! Before we reach the finish line, we want to take a moment to THANK YOU for the compelling and massive advocacy work you played a part in throughout the session.
To be real, as a housing justice movement we've collectively been taking actions non-stop since the 2020 legislative session. We had some amazing legislative wins and the highest yet housing and homelessness budget secured last year, just as we were beginning to understand the impacts of COVID-19. Throughout last year, you took actions to help support renters and people experiencing homelessness. You helped make sure most people were able to stay in their homes by advocating for eviction moratorium extensions. Members also pushed for creative health supports by setting up emergency non-congregate shelters. Last summer, more residents than ever took time to discuss your community’s needs during our virtual listening tour and local townhalls to create the Housing Alliance 2021 legislative agenda.
After four legislative sessions, you helped Washington finally pass statewide just cause protections for tenants (HB 1236/Macri), which will ensure that renters cannot be kicked out of their homes without having a good cause permitted in the legislation. This will prevent housing discrimination and retaliation and will prevent homelessness for many renters across Washington. Together, we were also able to pass a first-in-the-nation statewide Right to Counsel bill (SB 5160/Kuderer), which guarantees any low-income renter the right to have a pro bono attorney represent them if they face eviction. We are also incredibly excited that HB 1220/Peterson passed, which will bring much stronger racial equity requirements to our Growth Management Act and will ensure low-income people and people experiencing homelessness cannot be excluded from living in certain parts of town. There's still a week left in session, and we hope for even more to celebrate with HB 1277 and the final budgets!
We are so grateful that you have continued to advocate for housing justice, particularly during a time when this pandemic has impacted all of our lives in too many ways to count. Your willingness to engage and lead within the movement, to read our newsletters and texts, then call, email and zoom with your lawmakers, sign petitions, create videos, offer virtual testimony and encourage others to fight to protect our communities has made a significant difference! Our state is, once again leading the charge to do what is right for renters because your lawmakers are hearing your voices loud and clear!
Photos of Housing Justice Narrative Fellows from the Resident Action Project, including Brook Fadley and Mary Zhou and Washington CAN holding up a yellow banner with the words “Eviction Notice” telling lawmakers that they are “past due” on meeting the basic needs of low-income renters. Photos are outside Clark County Courthouse and next to King County Courthouse where eviction cases are tried.
Our movement continues to grow and we are so proud to have movement builders like you with us! Thank you again for a brilliant year of advocacy!
Dear advocates, as we enter the final few days of the legislative session, our attention is focused on HB 1277 and the budgets. The Capital Budget, which was released on Thursday night, includes a truly historic appropriation of $350 M for affordable housing and homelessness!!!!
$175m for the Housing Trust Fund
$120m for acquisition of property and buildings that can be rapidly converted to housing
$42m for utility and infrastructure costs related to affordable housing
$10m for preservation of existing affordable housing
The Communities of Concern Commission received $500k for admin and the budget includes $2.5 million set aside for funding a list of projects recommended by the Communities of Concern to be appropriated in the 2022 Supplemental. We will provide a more thorough analysis of the Capital Budget's impact regarding housing affordability and homelessness funding. The operating budget is likely to be released on Saturday. Stay tuned there.
HB 1277 still needs a huge push! We were hoping for a floor vote on the bill earlier this week, but end of session politics have stalled a vote and we need all hands on deck to help get the bill off the floor. See our Action Alert below!
Meanwhile, HB 1236 and HB 1220 have been both concurred and head to the Governor's desk. Yesterday evening, Governor Inslee signed SB 5160 into law, making Washington the first state in the nation to provide a right to legal counsel for tenants! He vetoed two sections of the bill, which would have created unfunded entitlements for landlords to unpaid rent. He did not veto the section that includes the Caldier amendment re-stating the end date of the eviction moratorium. Keep in mind that, regardless, the language in that amendment does not prohibit the Governor from taking action to extend the eviction moratorium. Because we know how crucial it is for newly passed tenant protections to be in place before the moratorium is lifted, we will continue to fight for an extension. Please join us!
In other exciting news, SB 5096, a new capital gains tax, passed off the House floor on Wednesday. The bill was not concurred to by the Senate, however, and the next step for SB 5096 is to go to conference where we hope the final form of the bill will be agreed to swiftly before Sine Die!
I hope you’ve been able to enjoy the beautiful Spring weather. The trees are leafing out and birds are chirping because...it's the last week of the legislative session! What are they saying? “Chirp chirp! Take action for HB 1277! Humans need stable homes!” Heed their calls.
This is the last week we have to pass HB 1277 off the Senate floor, and it’s coming down to the wire. In less than 5 days the bill could be dead if no action is taken. Collectively, we have worked so hard to ensure that renters have a permanent source of rental assistance and that we increase funding to prevent and end homelessness – we can’t let up now. It's time for that final advocacy push.
Will you take action today by 1) contacting your Senator using the legislative hotline, and 2) sending a quick follow-up email afterwards? Everything you need to take action is included below, including a voicemail script.
1) Contact your Senator!
You can call the legislative hotline today and leave a message using the script below!
1-800-562-6000 (the hotline operator will ask for your name and address to direct your message to the appropriate lawmaker)
Sample message (feel free to customize):
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. This bill must be passed before session ends. Please vote yes and demand that it be brought up for a vote.
2) Send a follow-up email!
You can send a quick email using this landing page. It takes just a minute, and the double action will ensure your Senator hears your voice.