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Giving Voice To Our Values

Our Issues:

Washington State


OUR ISSUES - AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Washington UU Voices for Justice:             printable format
Legislative Proposal for 2007

Housing & Homelessness
Proposed by: Sarajane Siegfriedt (UUC)

Propose and Track the Issue Housing & Homelessness Per the Criteria

Timeliness:
--The King County Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness is in year 2; 2005 legislation has funded planning in every county
--There is a great deal more awareness, srong local support, good momentum in legislature
--Although the State Housing Trust Fund surpassed its goal of $100 million for the biennium, it is far less than the need (perhaps $1.4B over 10 years).
--Funding for mental health has been cut substantially and funds for substance abuse treatment are only 40% of the need; both are major contributors to homelessness.
--The federal government has substantially cut HUD housing and Sec. 8 funds, causing cutback across the state with local housing authorities.

Potential for impact:
--Awareness of the leverage of housing to solve other social problems ("housing first") has grown greatly among legislators and policymakers
--Both houses of legislature are likely to be more friendly to this issue after November
--Affordable housing is widely seen as a middle-class need, not just a poverty issue

Connection to UU Values:
--Fighting poverty and insuring that each person is housed supports the inherent worth and dignity of every person, as well as justice, equality and compassion in human relations.

Strength of Coalition Partnerships:
--This is a key issue of the Washington Association of Churches and the Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness. Many faith groups have made housing and homelessness a priority by hosting shelters, hosting Tent City, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, and creating housing providers such as Plymouth Housing Authority, St. Andrews (Episc.) Housing Group, Archdiocisan Housing Authority, Lutheran Alliance to Create Housing and our Unitarian Housing Group. I receive alerts, particularly from Washington Low Income Housing Alliance (affordable housing providers) and the Washington State Coalition for the Homeless. I will also attend Housing Advocacy Day in Olympia.

Cutting-edge:
--The idea that homelessness can be ended is still cutting-edge; San Francisco and other cities have demonstrated success with radical changes in policies.
--Policymakers are just beginning to take responsibility for creating homeless, such as discharge policies in jail, prison and county hospitals.
--We are still in the early stages of creating the political will to end homelessness.

Provide basic information about proposed action alerts:
--The issues will be include funding for the State Housing Trust Fund, funding for services to accompany housing; preventing condo conversions; payday loans and predatory lending which prey on the poor; funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment.