Action For Homes Newsletter 2021 #4

Housing Champion Focus: Washington renter, Senator Mona Das represents the 47th Legislative District.  

Senator Mona DasSenator Das was elected as the Majority Caucus Vice Chair last November. Her years of work in the mortgage business led her to advance bills to increase affordable housing and tenant protections. As the Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Housing and Local Government, she is dedicated to bringing practical and comprehensive solutions to prevent and end homelessness. 

“As one of only three renters in the Senate – and as someone who built a career on helping connect families with homeownership – I know how difficult it is to find an affordable place to live, work, raise a family. And I know how critical stable housing is as a foundation for flourishing. Everything else – staying healthy, getting an education, taking care of loved ones – depends on having reliable housing. That’s why I work so hard to create housing opportunities for Washingtonians, and why I’m sponsoring SB 5139 this year: to give our neighbors who might be struggling to keep a roof over their heads a little bit of time to catch their breath and find a new home after the eviction moratorium is lifted. This is about extending protections for our community members and helping them stay safe and housed.” - Senator Mona Das 

During this session many of you have taken action to let your lawmakers know about the importance of SB 5139. SB 5139 limits rent increases for a year after the eviction moratorium expires.  During the pandemic, many renters, especially renters of color, have struggled to keep up with rent due to loss of jobs and income. Temporarily limiting rent increases will provide some certainty and give people time to get back on their feet. Senator Das is bringing her professional and lived experience to create policies and change systems that will make a difference in people’s lives.  

Senator Das is also the prime sponsor of SB 5287, which improves and expands the Multifamily Tax Exemption program. The bill adds greater affordability requirements, protections for tenants and against displacement, and creates a new incentive for permanently affordable homeownership.  

Last year, Senator Das helped launch Opportunity PAC – a political action committee aimed at electing progressive Black women to public office. Opportunity PAC helped elect four Black women in 2020 who are now serving in the state legislature. 

We were proud to recognize Senator Das as a 2020 Housing Hero because of her leadership! For more information on Senator Das, please check out her webpage

Capitol Re-Caps

Legislative updates from week four! 

It’s been another busy week in this legislative session as we move closer to the first cutoff. 

Senate Bill 5160 was voted out of the Senate Housing and Local Government committee on Wednesday! This is a critical component of the offramp from the eviction moratorium. It requires payment plans so tenants can catch up on back rent, prevents rent debt accrued during the pandemic from being used to deny housing in the future, keeps tenants out of court by expanding dispute resolution, and provides legal counsel for tenants who do go to eviction court. If your Senator is on the committee and voted yes, please take a moment to send a thank you message (scroll down for contact information)! The next step for this bill is to be heard and passed from the Senate Ways and Means committee.   

Unfortunately, that same committee didn’t pass Senate Bill 5139, limiting rent increases for the first year after the moratorium ends. The cutoff for bills to be voted out of policy committees is February 15.   

The House Housing, Human Services and Veterans committee passed House Bill 1236, which requires landlords to have a legitimate business reason to evict. This is another critical component in preventing evictions when the moratorium ends. Currently, landlords can make someone move with just 20 days’ notice, for no reason. Without this protection, rental assistance won’t be enough to stave off the looming wave of evictions. This committee also passed House Bill 1300 this morning. This bill sponsored by Rep. Thai protects renters from inflated and unsubstantiated damage claims. 

The Legislature is moving quickly on the “early action” budget bill which authorizes spending $2.2 billion, primarily from federal relief funds, to respond to the pandemic. It includes $355 million for rental assistance and another $10 million for other housing-related issues including foreclosure prevention, dispute resolution, and legal assistance related to evictions. The bill has already passed the House and was voted out of the Senate Ways and Means committee yesterday. Next stop, the Senate floor!   

Advocates have continued to show up for hearings and to sign in to support these and other priorities. In fact, we heard from a lawmaker this week that our turn out for House Bill 1277 is the standard he is telling other advocacy groups to meet for the bills they support! We’ll need you to keep that up throughout the session. The landlord lobby is fighting hard to keep the status quo and the ability to evict tenants as easily as possible. We have an opportunity this session to not only prevent a huge wave of pandemic related evictions, but to make the system fairer, and increase protections for renters for the long-term! 

Week 4 Action Alert! 

Thank lawmakers who voted to advance housing priorities! 

We made progress this week, with three important bills passing out of their chambers' housing committees. Join us in thanking lawmakers who voted yes on SB 5160, HB 1236, and HB 1300! Even if you're not a constituent, a thank you email is always appreciated. Use the list below to say thank you to lawmakers on the House Housing, Human Services & Veterans committee who voted yes on HB 1236 and HB 1300 and lawmakers on the Senate Housing & Local Government who voted yes on SB 5160. 

House Housing, Human Services & Veterans



Office Location



Peterson, Strom (D) Chair


JLOB 324

(360) 786-7950

Taylor, Jamila (D), Vice Chair


JLOB 418

(360) 868-6290

Bateman, Jessica (D)


LEG 122D

(360) 545-9513

Chopp, Frank (D)


LEG 429A

(360) 786-7920

Leavitt, Mari (D)


JLOB 330

(360) 786-7890

Thai, My-Linh (D)


JLOB 424

(360) 786 - 7926

Senate Housing & Local Government 






Kuderer, Patty (D) Chair


LEG 411

(360) 786-7694

Das, Mona (D) Vice Chair


JAC 230

(360) 786-7692

Cleveland, Annette (D)


JAC 220

(360) 786-7696

Lovelett, Liz (D)


JAC 215

(360) 786-7678

Salomon, Jesse (D)


LEG 404

(360) 786-7662


HHAD 2021 

There's still time to register for #HHAD2021! 

Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Days are almost here! Since the start of the legislative session, we’ve been counting on all of you to take a couple of minutes a week to take action by contacting your state lawmakers about the housing issues you care about. Many of you have taken the time to come to our advocate meetings and have testified for tenant protections, affordable housing, COVID-19 rental assistance relief, and progressive revenue. You've given your time and energy so that you, your family, friends, neighbors, and communities will not face massive evictions. The most recent Census Pulse Household Survey data shows that almost 224,000 people in Washington live in households that were behind on rent in mid-January. 

We have an opportunity next week to show lawmakers that there is a huge housing justice movement that is deeply troubled by what could happen if we do not pass these bills. Show your solidarity with the hundreds of thousands in our state who are experiencing housing and economic instability by registering for #HHAD2021 today! 

Register for #HHAD2021!  The last day to register is Monday, February 8.  


Residents of New Tacoma Apartments, wearing red and listening to a Resident Action Project workshop during HHAD 2020.
They now have their own RAP local organizing chapter that meets weekly to build the housing justice movement. 


What to expect during virtual #HHAD2021: 

A joyful celebration and rally with housing movement advocates! 

Seeing friends from across the state; connecting over values and our common cause! 

Engaging conversations with newly elected lawmakers, many of whom are renters themselves! 

Wear RED for #HHAD2021! (Time to break out your red scarf from last year!) 

American Sign Language, Spanish, and Vietnamese interpretation and closed captioning in English will be available during HHAD program events and lawmaker meetings that have been previously requested. For further questions, email Sarah Cohn, Housing Alliance MSW Intern: 


HHAD at a glance: 

Monday, February 8:   

9:30am-11:30am - #HHAD2021 Welcome Program and Presentations 

11:30am-12n – Optional: Technical support for zoom tech, scheduling, and questions about our legislative agenda and the session 

Monday - Friday, February 8- 12:  

12:00n Monday to 12:00n Friday - Lawmaker meetings with your Legislative District groups 

12:00n Monday to 12:00n Friday - Open zoom breakout rooms for Legislative District Groups to debrief and receive HHAD staff support anytime during the week 

Friday, February 12: 

1:00pm-2:00pm – “Rally for Homes” program including Housing Champion lawmakers and a Call to Action with the Resident Action Project 

2:00pm-3:00pm – Optional: We want to hear about your HHAD lawmaker meetings! Stick around a little longer and share with staff and other HHAD attendees 

Advocacy Panels: 

“2021 Legislative Agenda and Session Updates”.  Michele Thomas, Director of Policy and Advocacy and Nick Federici, Housing Alliance Lobbyist. Michele and Nick will give you the inside scoop and details on what has been happening in committees and throughout the session. They will offer tips on advocating for important housing bills during this unusual virtual legislative session. To prepare you for your district meetings, they will offer a brief on the Housing Alliance legislative agenda. 

“The Diversion Approach from Practice to Policy: Addressing racial disparity in the homeless system”.  The Washington state Advance Diversion Coaches work to increase the visibility and use of Diversion. Diversion is an approach that assists households in quickly securing temporary or permanent solutions to homelessness outside of the homeless system by supporting creative and cost-effective solutions to meet individual needs. Diversion is intended to increase housing options for historically underserved communities—nearly 75% of those served in King County are Black, Indigenous or people of color (BIPOC) and 67% identify as Black/African American. During this panel you will learn more about how the Coaches promote the key principles of internalized bias and anti-racism, person-centered engagement, and applying “unconditional positive regard” to help shift our systems through practice and policy to be more responsive to the needs of BIPOC communities. 

“COVID-19 and Housing: Stories of intersecting issues that we cannot ignore”. Moderating this panel is Debbie Lacy, CEO and Founder of Eastside for All and lead organizer for Eastside Renters in Crisis, a community advocacy group which centers the experiences and needs of community members most impacted by the affordable housing crisis and COVID-19. Debbie will interview community members, most of whom have given testimonies for housing bills this session. They will share how their housing, health, safety and well-being have been deeply affected by the pandemic and the systems that were ill-equipped well before COVID-19 to support families and individuals during this crisis.