Social and Economic Policy
Achieve policies and funding necessary to address the homelessness crisis and assure an adequate supply of affordable housing for middle-to-low income people.
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.
League priority bills are in bold below.
|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 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 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
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.
Bills the League Supported that HAVE Passed
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 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 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.
SB 5566 Expanding eligibility for the independent youth housing program would change eligibility for the program from 23 to 25.
SB 5749 Concerning rent payments made by residential tenants, would require landlords to accept tenant rent payments in a variety of forms, making it easier for the tenants to pay.
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.
SB 5883 Concerning an unaccompanied homeless youth's ability to provide informed consent for that minor patient's own health care, including non-emergency, outpatient, and primary care services, including physical examinations, vision examinations and eyeglasses, dental examinations, hearing examinations and hearing aids, immunizations, treatments for illnesses and conditions, and routine follow-up care customarily provided by a health care provider in an outpatient setting, excluding elective surgeries, would allow an unaccompanied homeless minor to execute his/her own informed consent under certain circumstances. This is consistent with the LWVWA position that at risk children should have stable and adequate funding , with priority given to prevention, early identification and intervention services, community based treatment programs, day treatment programs and residential care. Homeless unaccompanied youth may have no other access to these services if required to receive consent from an adult.
Bills the League Supported that Did Not Pass
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 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 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 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 1782 Creating additional middle housing near transit and in areas traditionally dedicated to single-family detached housing, amends the Growth Management Act to require certain cities to allow middle housing types, increase economic and racial integration, anti-displacement measures, and middle housing in comprehensive plans; and more.
HB 1904 Protecting tenants from excessive rent and related fees by providing at least six months' notice for rent increases over a certain amount, allowing tenants the right to terminate a tenancy, and limiting late fees.
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 2009 Creating the evergreen basic income trust, would provide direct cash assistance for up to 36 months to individuals at or under 50% of area median income and meet an array of other criteria, to increase financial stability among people and families struggling to cover essential expenses. This is consistent with the LWVUS position that the most effective social programs are those designed to prevent or reduce poverty. Persons who are unable to work, whose earnings are inadequate, or for whom jobs are not available have the right to an income and/or services sufficient to meet their basic needs for food, shelter, and access to health care.
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.
HB 2048 Concerning temporary assistance for needy families time limit extensions, would extend the limit on receipt of temporary financial assistance for domestic violence victims, behavioral health circumstances and others. This financial aid can help sustain housing for these recipients.
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 5755 Authorizing certain cities to establish a limited sales and use tax incentive program to encourage redevelopment of vacant lands in urban areas.
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.