Social and Economic Policy
Housing and Homelessness

Achieve policies and funding necessary to address the homelessness crisis and assure an adequate supply of affordable housing for middle-to-low income people.


Issue Team Chair: Cynthia Stewart, cstewart@lwvwa.org 
DOWNLOAD the Housing & Homelessness Issue Paper
Interested in getting involved with this topic? Click here! 


Bill Tracking

Weekly Reports


Bill Descriptions


Get Involved

Overview

The state and national Leagues both have positions stating that there should be equal opportunity for housing, assigning responsibility for addressing housing needs to both the private and public sectors and specifically suggest that government should set standards and allocate funds. As the homelessness crisis has become worse, it has become clear that the private sector is not willing or is unable to respond to the affordable housing needs; so government must do more.

In the legislative sessions between 2019 and 2021, a great deal of legislation was passed and funding appropriated for homelessness prevention (e.g., rental assistance), acquisition of new affordable housing (e.g., substantial allocations to the Housing Trust Fund), and support services (e.g., the Housing and Essential Needs program). However, COVID has exacerbated the homelessness situation, and still more is needed.

Much of what is anticipated in the 2022 legislative session will be included in the budget and not reflected in other bills. The list that follows include bills that were active but did not pass both chambers in 2021 and bills that were pre-filed as of the date this was written.

Bill Tracking

League priority bills are in bold below.

Senate Bills Senate House After Passage
Bill # Bill Name (Brief Title) League Position Take Action In Committee On Floor Calendar Passed  In Committee On Floor Calendar Passed  Passed Legislature On Governor's Desk Signed
SB 5007 Addressing the economic challenges facing Washington citizens from the COVID-19 pandemic Supports
X








SB 5012 Providing a local government option for the funding of essential affordable housing programs Supports
X








SB 5033 Limiting the property tax exemption for improvements to single-family dwellings to the construction of accessory dwelling units Supports
X








SB 5043 Relating to the provision of housing for school district employees Supports
X








SB 5139 Limiting rent increases after expiration of the governor's eviction moratorium Supports
X








SB 5566 Expanding eligibility for the independent youth housing program. Supports
X








SB 5576 Addressing landlord-tenant relations by providing technical changes to eviction notice and summons forms and modifying certain eviction processes and programs. Supports
X








SB 5832 Expanding the multifamily tax exemption program to include converting existing multifamily units Supports

X








SB 5861 Concerning housing benefit districts, would authorize establishment of housing benefit districts Supports

X








SB 5868 Expanding the use of the rural counties public facilities sales and use tax to include affordable workforce housing Supports

X








House Bills House Senate After Passage
Bill # Bill Name (Brief Title) League Position Take Action In Committee On Floor Calendar Passed  In Committee On Floor Calendar Passed  Passed Legislature On Governor's Desk Signed
HB 1035 Providing local governments with options to grant rent relief and preserve affordable housing in their communities Supports
X








HB 1100 Concerning the sale or lease of manufactured/mobile home communities and the property on which they sit Supports
X








HB 1128 Concerning housing benefit districts Supports
X








HB 1228 Addressing residential landlord-tenant requirements in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency Supports
X








HB 1300 Addressing documentation and processes governing landlords' claims for damage to residential premises Supports
X








HB 1593 Expanding the landlord mitigation program to alleviate the financial burden on victims attempting to flee domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, or stalking Supports
X








HB 1601 Expanding the students experiencing homelessness and foster youth pilot program Supports
X








HB 1643 Exempting a sale or transfer of real property for affordable housing to a nonprofit entity, housing authority, public corporation, county, or municipal corporation from the real estate excise tax Supports
X








HB 1724 Ensuring oversight and coordination of permanent supportive housing resources to maximize the creation of high-quality housing opportunities for people living with disabling conditions in communities across Washington Supports
X








HB 1987 Establishing a task force on creating a new state housing and homelessness department Supports

X








HB 2017 Addressing housing concerns for individuals impacted by the criminal Supports

X








HB 2023 Addressing enforcement of tenant protections Supports

X









Weekly Reports

These weekly updates will provide you with a "deep dive" into the progress of each bill, along with more analysis of the potential impact of the bill if it should pass. 


Bill Descriptions

HB 1035 Providing local governments with options to grant rent relief and preserve affordable housing in their communities would establish an affordable housing incentive program for cities to preserve affordable housing that meets health and quality standards for low-income households and very low-income households at risk of displacement or that cannot afford market rate housing.

HB 1100 Concerning the sale or lease of manufactured/mobile home communities and the property on which they sit, would make it easier for homeowners who have formed a homeowner's association or a co-operative and for non-profit housing providers to purchase and preserve manufactured housing communities, when the landowner is considering selling the land, to ensure the ongoing availability of affordable home ownership opportunities for current and future families. The Washington State Supreme Court issued an opinion in 2019 that calls into question the validity of past decisions that upheld the landlords’ argument around the constitutionality of a previous statute that had similar aims.

HB 1128 Concerning housing benefit districts, would authorize the establishment of housing benefit districts and set out requirements and authorities related to their governance, powers, and finances. This would be analogous to transportation benefit districts and other special taxing districts in which limited functions are performed and funded per a vote of the public within the district.

HB 1228 Addressing residential landlord-tenant requirements in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, would establish an early resolution program to support renters who as a result of COVID have not been able to make rent payments and their landlords who would otherwise forego rent.

HB 1300 Addressing documentation and processes governing landlords' claims for damage to residential premises, would address a longstanding problem with inflated and/or unsubstantiated damage claims against a tenant that can affect their credit and tenant screening report for years.

HB 1593 Expanding the landlord mitigation program to alleviate the financial burden on victims attempting to flee domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, or stalking.

HB 1660  Relating to accessory dwelling units would not require owner occupancy of property on which an ADU is sited unless the ADU is offered for short-term rental.

HB 1601 Expanding the students experiencing homelessness and foster youth pilot program would enlarge the program providing assistance for students at school from the initial number of four each, four-year and technical college categories, to enable all colleges to institute such services.

HB 1643 Exempting a sale or transfer of real property for affordable housing to a nonprofit entity, housing authority, public corporation, county, or municipal corporation from the real estate excise tax would provide a financial incentive to sell to an affordable housing provider.

HB 1711  Relating to accessory dwelling units, would allow local governments to use various financial incentives for development or construction of ADUs, provided they are not regularly used for short-term rentals.

HB 1724  Ensuring oversight and coordination of permanent supportive housing resources to maximize the creation of high-quality housing opportunities for people living with disabling conditions in communities across Washington, would establish an advisory committee on permanent supportive housing and adds representation from providers of permanent supportive housing to the state affordable housing advisory board.

HB 1987 Establishing a task force on creating a new state housing and homelessness department.  The task force would report preliminarily on its recommendations by November 2022 with a final report due in November 2023.

HB 2017 Addressing housing concerns for individuals impacted by the criminal legal system, the Housing Justice Act, would restricting the use of a conviction history as a reason to deny housing.

HB 2023 Addressing enforcement of tenant protections, establishes a procedure for tenants to file court proceedings in cases of violations of tenant protections.

SB 5007 Addressing the economic challenges facing Washington citizens from the COVID-19 pandemic through a temporary reduction in compliance and tax burden on electric utilities in order to lower costs and support direct utility assistance to low-income customers. This bill would give a tax credit to utilities that offer assistance to retail customers in arrears on their utility bills.

SB 5012 Providing a local government option for the funding of essential affordable housing programs would authorize local governments to apply a tax to short-term rentals such as Airbnb units to be used exclusively for the purpose of exclusively for the operating and capital costs of affordable housing programs.

SB 5033 Limiting the property tax exemption for improvements to single-family dwellings to the construction of accessory dwelling units would modify current property tax exemptions for home renovation to apply only to construction of ADUs.  The current statute allows a partial exemption for other types of home improvements.

SB 5043 Relating to the provision of housing for school district employees, would authorize local school districts to provide housing on district-owned property for district employees. This would allow some school district employees to afford housing at locations closer to their work.

SB 5139 Limiting rent increases after expiration of the governor's eviction moratorium, would discourage landlords from evicting tenants in order to raise rent immediately.

SB 5566 Expanding eligibility for the independent youth housing program would change eligibility for the program from 23 to 25.

SB 5576 Addressing landlord-tenant relations by providing technical changes to eviction notice and summons forms and modifying certain eviction processes and programs, provides greater process and judicial flexibility in commencing and processing potential evictions.

SB 5832 Expanding the multifamily tax exemption program to include converting existing multifamily units, would allow the multi-family tax exemption that applies to developments with affordable units to be applied to conversion of other types of buildings into affordable housing units or conversion of market rate housing to affordable units.  The 12-year exemption requires a minimum of 30% of the units to be offered at rates that are attainable by people of low- or moderate-income at no more than 30 percent of their income.

SB 5861 Concerning housing benefit districts, would authorize establishment of housing benefit districts (analogous to transportation benefit districts) in certain jurisdictions. These districts must meet or exceed the affordability standards set forth in the bill.  The jurisdictions could impose a new local option sales tax of up to 0.025 percent to cover the costs. An advisory board is also established by the bill.

SB 5868 Expanding the use of the rural counties public facilities sales and use tax to include affordable workforce housing, would add affordable workforce housing to the current uses of the rural counties public facilities sales and use tax.

How To Be Involved
  • Local Leagues in Washington have action chairs who coordinate action teams. Some local Leagues have housing and homelessness teams to take action locally. Contact your local League action chair to find out and join.
  • You may also express your opinion on legislation with the LWVWA issue chairs. We will take your perspectives under considerations as we determine our support for legislation and prepare testimony. Cynthia Stewart, Housing and Homelessness Issue Chair, cstewart@lwvwa.org.

The League of Women Voters of Washington is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization.
The League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. LWVWA Education Fund contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. The League of Women Voters Education Fund does not endorse the contents of any web pages to which it links.

League of Women Voters of the United States

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software