Tuesday, March 10 2015

Legislative Updates - March 10, 2015

Building Changes works closely with advocacy partners to champion support for vital programs that work to make homelessness rare, brief and one-time. Go to our State Policy & Advocacy page to learn more about our 2015 Legislative Priorities and related updates.

Washington Youth & Families Fund and looking ahead

Building Changes continues to advocate for $6 million for the Washington Youth & Families Fund (WYFF). The Governor’s budget funded WYFF at $3 million. The House budget will be released in the next few weeks, the Senate budget will follow and then budget negotiations will begin in earnest. Although revenue collections are increasing, the additional resources are not enough to fund current services and investments in education mandated by the Supreme Court in the McCleary decision. Your voices will be needed to make sure the Washington Youth & Families Fund and other programs that prevent and end homelessness are funded.

Homeless Youth Act and Extended Foster Care move forward

Good news: the Homeless Youth Act (HB 1436/SB 5404), which would create the Office of Youth Programs to lead statewide planning to end youth homelessness and establish a goal to end discharge youth from state programs to homelessness, passed the House of Representatives and is ready to be voted on in the Senate. WYFF funding would work collaboratively with the new office. Extended Foster Care (HB 1735/SB 5740), which would extend services to youth aging out of foster care with significant medical conditions, also passed the House and Senate.

The power of advocacy

Board member Lori Kaiser in OlympiaHousing and Homelessness Advocacy Day on February 17th was a huge success with more than 650 advocates gathering in Olympia to engage with legislators. Building Changes board member Lori Kaiser (pictured far right) was part of a group of nonprofit board members who met with the Governor and First Lady Trudi Inslee. Lori reflected, “It was inspiring to be part of the collective effort of board members advocating on homelessness issues. Our unique voices really do make a difference with lawmakers to ensure funding for programs that work to make homelessness rare and brief.”