As you know, hundreds of thousands of people are behind on rent in Washington, fearful of what will happen when the eviction moratorium is lifted. We must create an ongoing statewide source of rental assistance (HB 1277), enact just cause protections (HB 1236) and improve the eviction process (SB 5160) in order to prevent a massive increase in homelessness. In addition, we must make equitable improvements to our Growth Management Act and ensure that people experiencing homelessness cannot be pushed further to the margins (HB 1220).
Every one of these bills has a hearing or big vote this week, and lawmakers need to hear from you! Please use the form to the right to take action!
HB 1236 requires landlords to have a legitimate business reason to evict. This bill helps us achieve our goal of improving housing stability by closing loopholes that currently allow landlords to get around all tenant protections. Further, HB 1236 is critical in order for rental assistance to work – without it, landlords can cash a rental assistance check one day, then evict a tenant the next.
SB 5160 is critical for tenants facing eviction for nonpayment of rent. It provides low-income tenants access to counsel, ensuring that tenants most at risk of homelessness have support to assert their rights and save their homes. In other parts of the country where the right to counsel exists, 84% of represented households were able to stay housed. SB 5160 also provides other critical protections including realistic payment plans, access to mediation, and protections against future housing denials for tenants unable to pay during the pandemic.
HB 1277 creates a new statewide rental assistance program, funded through a $100 increase on the document recording fee. This program will ensure that tenants who still face volatile earnings or unstable employment throughout the slow economic recovery will not be left high and dry when federal rental assistance dries up. Portions of the funding can also be used for other eviction prevention programs and for operations & maintenance of Permanent Supportive Housing.
HB 1220 makes several important updates to the Housing Element of the Growth Management Act, requiring jurisdictions to address moderate, low, very low, and extremely low-income housing, and requires jurisdictions to address racially disparate impacts and displacement. The bill also prohibits cities from banning emergency shelter and permanent supportive housing in certain areas.
Thank you for using your voice to ensure that we prevent evictions and homelessness, and that we do not further marginalize those experiencing homelessness in our communities!