Updates from the South King Housing and Homelessness Partnership!

As we move further into February, it’s clear that legislative session is in full swing! South King County housing advocates have been in Olympia this month sharing information with their legislators about important housing policies and opportunities. Here are the most recent updates:

  1. Housing Trust Fund: The Housing Trust Fund provides homes for low- and moderate- income families and individuals like entry-level teachers, service industry workers, people with special needs, the elderly and persons with disabilities. It is funded through the capital budget and paid for by selling bonds that are paid off over time. Housing advocates have asked for a capital budget allocation of $10 million this year for the HTF. There is still time to send messages of support to the House and Senate!
  2. Preservation Property Tax Exemption (SB 6239): This bill would give local jurisdictions the option to create a 15 year local property tax exemption for property owners in the private market who agree to set aside 25% of their buildings for low income tenants with an income up to 60% of the area median family income. This is an especially helpful tool for suburban communities to maintain existing housing stock while improving the housing health and quality for low income residents. This bill is awaiting a vote on the Senate floor, and would need to be passed out by 5pm tomorrow (2/17).
  3. Source of Income Discrimination (HB 1565): The proposed Source of Income Discrimination bill would prevent landlords from discriminating against a prospective renter solely based on their source of income, such as SSDI or a Section 8 voucher. The Senate bill died, but House Bill 1565 passed out of House Judiciary on 2/4 and is currently sitting in the House Rules Committee.
  4. Evictions compromise bill (SB 6413/HB 2811): This bill ends the practice of reporting all evictions as equal, creates and defines portable tenant screening reports, and provides landlords with an additional 7 days (bringing the total to 21) to postmark tenant security deposit returns. Both the House bill and the Senate bill passed out of committee unanimously. The Senate bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and has moved to the House.

Places to Be

The Seattle King County Coalition on Homelessness invites you to join an engaging, fun, and inspiring Homelessness Advocacy 101 workshop! We build on the energy of hundreds of One Night Count volunteers and many other people across King County who care deeply about affordable housing, safety, shelter, and justice for people who are homeless.

We’ll provide up-to-the-minute information about key proposals currently being debated in Olympia. Nancy Amidei, an incomparable pro-democracy cheerleader, local policy experts, and Coalition staff will present details about 3-4 important issues. We’ll provide you with simple actions, sample messages, and the chance to practice your skills. You will leave informed and inspired with tools for engaging your classmates, fellow congregants, neighbors and others to speak up and make a difference.

Saturday, February 27 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Kent (Kent Library, 212 2nd Ave. N., Kent, WA 98032).

To sign up, click here!

People in Action

This year’s Housing and Homelessness Advocacy day saw nearly 650 housing advocates descend on the State Capitol to engage with their legislators on important issues such as funding the Housing Trust Fund, creating important supports for students experiencing homelessness, and protecting low-income tenants from discrimination. There was strong turnout from advocates in South King County, including many members of SKHHP!

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Advocates fill the Capitol steps on Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day for the day’s call to action

Resources

The National Center for Healthy Housing is again looking for communities that want to compare their existing housing code to the two model national codes to identify opportunities to improve the local code. Please contact Julie Kruse at jkruse@nchh.org if you are interested in participating. We also want to identify useful provisions in your code that other communities might consider as they update their own codes.

NCHH will conduct the analysis and provide a report comparing your code to the National Healthy Housing Standard (NHHS) and the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC). Click here for details on the NHHS.

This is the third phase of our effort. Some of the communities we previously worked with have begun the long process of updating their code. And most excitingly, the community of Tukwila, WA has already incorporated elements of the NHHS into their property maintenance code.