CHAMPION SPOTLIGHT: WE DID IT!
Housing advocates, we are beyond thrilled to share with you that this year’s legislative session was truly historic. We are so grateful to all of you for your tireless advocacy to get important bills like SB 5160, HB 1236, HB 1277, and HB 1220 all the way over the finish line. Truly, WE DID IT! There is so much to celebrate – just cause and other tenant protections, eviction prevention, right to counsel, a permanent funding source for rental assistance, permanent supportive housing, planning for affordable housing and anti-exclusionary zoning, and so much more!
We couldn’t have done it without the unwavering support of our housing champions in the legislature. Representative Macri, Senator Robinson, Senator Kuderer, and Representative Ormsby – we are looking at you!
THANK YOU, HOUSING CHAMPIONS!
Rep. Macri: Thank you for sponsoring HB 1236 (just cause protections), for ensuring key budget appropriations for affordable housing and homelessness, for driving critical bills like HB 1277, HB 1220, and SB 5160 through the House, and for being such an important voice in the legislature for extending our state’s eviction moratorium. Send a thank you to Rep. Nicole Macri here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Robinson: Thank you for sponsoring SB 5096 (capital gains), for making sure right to counsel (SB 5160) was fully funded, and for your leadership in securing such significant housing and homelessness investments. Send a thank you to Sen. June Robinson here: email@example.com
Sen. Kuderer: Thank you for sponsoring SB 5160, for your committee leadership in getting all of our housing bills through the Senate and fighting for the budget investments we needed, and for being a key legislative voice for extending the eviction moratorium. Send a thank you to Sen. Patty Kuderer here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Ormsby: Thank you for sponsoring HB 1277, for securing critical budget investments in housing and homelessness, and for pushing key bills like SB 5160 through to the finish line! Send a thank you to Rep. Ormsby here: email@example.com
Congratulations to our incredible community of advocates. You made this happen!
Together, we achieved every single one of our lead priorities during the 2021 Legislative session – and more – including:
A new permanent fund source for rental assistance and efforts to prevent and end homelessness: House Bill 1277 adds a fee on real estate transactions like buying or refinancing a home and will raise almost $300 million over the next two years.
Right to counsel: The Governor signed this last week, making Washington the first state to guarantee a lawyer for tenants in eviction court who are low-income or otherwise can’t afford one. The bill also requires repayment plans, bars landlords from refusing to rent to tenants who fell behind during the pandemic, and provides an opportunity for mediation.
Just cause: House Bill 1236 requires that landlords have a legitimate business reason to make someone move, ending the practice of giving tenants 20 day “no cause” notices. This closes a loophole in fair housing laws and will ensure that rental assistance doesn’t just pay back landlords but keeps people in their homes.
Over $1 BILLION to address the housing needs of people in Washington, including:
$350 million in the capital budget to build and preserve affordable homes, (including $175m for the Housing Trust Fund and $120m to acquire properties that can be quickly converted to housing or shelter)
$658 million for rental assistance
$187 million for foreclosure prevention
$72 million for shelter and housing for people experiencing homelessness
$27 million increase to the Housing and Essential Needs rental assistance program
Lead by our partners at Futurewise, House Bill 1220 prevents cities from banning shelters, transitional housing, or permanent supportive housing; requires jurisdictions planning under the Growth Management Act to identify policies that create racially disparate impacts, displacement, and exclusion – and to identify and implement policies to undo that harm.
Capital gains: The legislature passed a 7% excise tax on extraordinary profits from the sale of financial assets of over $250,000 per year. This tax would be paid almost exclusively by the richest 1% of Washingtonians and would generate more than $500 million per year. We participated in this coalition effort lead by the Washington State Budget and Policy Center, Balance our Tax Code Coalition, Invest in Washington Now, and many others who have been working for years to make our tax code more equitable.
We had incredible lawmakers fighting hard for these policies and investments, but these weren’t easy wins. What made this all possible was a powerful movement for housing justice. Every single bill we passed had fierce opposition and every time we asked you to take action, we did so because it was a critical moment when your voice would make a difference. And so many of stood up to make your voice heard:
• Nearly 3,000 advocates took action during the session
• Lawmakers together received over 20,000 emails from affordable housing advocates
• Over 1,000 organizations and over 3,800 individuals signed onto letters to lawmakers in support of our priorities
• Many thousands of you signed in to register your support for key bills
• Over 800 advocates attended our first ever 100% virtual Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day
And all of this was on top of the YEARS of organizing and advocacy to build a strong and vocal movement that lawmakers are compelled to listen to.
Without your support and advocacy, we would not have been able to create these historic changes to Washington’s laws and secure these historic budget investments!
Thank you so much for sticking with us through this session and continuing to fight for a Washington where everyone has a safe and affordable place to call home.
The Housing Alliance and the Action Fund will be taking the week of May 3 through May 7 off. We will be back on Friday May 14!