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Housing Justice Strides in 2021

In the Washington State legislative session just concluded, a session that many have judged to be historic in its progressive accomplishments, several enactments combine to enable major strides in housing justice.  Chief among housing-related accomplishments is likely avoidance of a feared tsunami of evictions at the end of the statewide eviction moratorium.  Other major accomplishments are a statewide “just cause” eviction law that stipulates specific grounds for eviction, and a permanent statewide housing sustainability program that features ongoing rental assistance and homelessness prevention. Here are some of the major pieces of housing legislation that came out of the 2020-2021 State Legislature: Glide-path back to normal.  SB 5160 is clearly the centerpiece in this year’s slew of housing-related legislation.  With this enactment, Washington becomes the first state to provide legal representation for tenants facing eviction.  It also requires good-faith repayment planning and working through a state regional dispute resolution center before…

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Economic Justice accomplishments in 2020

In the 2020 session, the Economic Justice group emphasized housing, food, and income in its priorities, with top priorities in housing. The legislature passed a remarkable wave of bills in this area, providing $174 million in resources for the state’s affordable housing and homelessness needs. Showing the importance of the issues, all of this spending has survived the Governor’s April budget-reducing vetoes. On Lobby Day, Quaker Voice advocated a modest increase in the Housing and Essential Needs rental assistance program, and the legislative provided more than we asked -- $15 million a year. We also worked for a bill that allows renters to pay move-in costs over three months instead of having to provide them all at the start of a lease. This provision helps everyone, particularly low-income families that struggle to save enough for the big, one-time move-in bill. This bill passed and has been signed into law. A…

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