Economic Justice Legislative Priorities for the 2023 Legislative Session
(Updated February 10, 2023)
The Quaker Voice Economic Justice Working Group is focusing on three priorities in the upcoming session: Housing Justice, Mental Health Workforce Development, and Guaranteed Basic Income. In advocating for those most economically vulnerable, we are focused on the intersections between people of color, people living with disabilities, and people with housing insecurity, among other conditions that may cause one to be economically at risk. We seek and advocate for a just and sustainable economy in which all Washington residents can thrive.
Housing justice –
HB 1474/SB 5496 – Creating the covenant homeownership account and program to address the history of housing discrimination due to racially restrictive real estate covenants in Washington state.
Racial disparity in homeownership is greater now than it was before fair housing legislation in the 1960s. These companion bills address systemic racism in the real estate, banking, and credit industries in Washington state by assisting first-time home purchasers who have suffered directly from discriminatory practices in these industries. Addressing homeownership disparities also means addressing a massive racial disparity in household net worth that so affects where we can live, work, and attend school.
Mental Health Workforce Development –
SB 5189/HB1348 – establishing behavioral health support specialists
Quaker Voice advocates for services that would meet the behavioral health needs of the community, with a focus on the most vulnerable. Examples include wrap-around services in supportive housing, crisis intervention, inpatient and outpatient psychiatric and addiction treatment. At present, there are not enough providers on the continuum of care from peers to PhD. Behavioral health workers make up a vital part of the social safety net, yet entering the career field is a strenuous financial commitment to make. Some possible ways to increase the workforce include scholarships and loan repayment, support for bachelor-level roles, apprenticeships, and credentialing for peers.
Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) –
HB 1045 – Creating the evergreen basic income pilot program
Funding for Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) is vital to creating financial security for some of our state’s most vulnerable residents. This would make it possible for many Washington residents to have discretionary funds necessary to pay for essentials like groceries, insurance, utilities, or rent. Monthly distributions would be based on a percentage of Area Median Income, which varies in different parts of the state. Quaker Voice supports the creation of the Evergreen Basic Income Trust which will provide funding for a Washington State pilot GBI program.
Support Bills –
HB1094/SB5125 – Creating the Washington Future Fund program. Directs appropriations from the state general fund to the Washington Future Fund Account based on the number of those born into poverty in a particular year, available for eligible claimants at age 18 through 35 for the purpose of education, purchasing a home, or starting a business in Washington through the Washington Future Fund Program, in the Office of the State Treasurer.
We invite those who share our concern for economic justice issues to learn more and join in this effort. Click here, Contact Us, for the link page on the Quaker Voice home page.