Our top two state policy priorities

Published: January 31, 2023

Having a stable home provides youth and families with a foundation for economic success, quality education, and good health. That’s why Building Changes pushes for equitable responses to homelessness and works statewide to ensure that children, youth, and families can get the support they need to maintain housing stability and to thrive. Our policy priorities for the current state legislative session include increased investment in two vital resources:

Homeless Student Stability Program (HSSP): To reduce student homelessness and improve educational outcomes, we are advocating to increase funding for HSSP from $4.4M to $10M. We are also advocating for House Bill 1622, to increase access and flexibility of this crucial program.

4 key facts about HSSP:

  • For many students experiencing homelessness, HSSP is the only avenue of support because youth and families are often ineligible or not prioritized for many homeless and housing programs.
  • HSSP supports collaboration between schools and housing organizations to identify and serve students experiencing homelessness more effectively than if working separately.
  • HSSP uses flexible, data-driven, racially equitable strategies tailored to meet students’ individual needs to equitably address housing crises across both urban and rural communities.
  • HSSP has a high success rate. In the last HSSP cohort through the Office of Homeless Youth, grantees served 473 households, including 761 students. Of the households that exited a program, 66% secured stable housing.

Washington Youth and Families Fund (WYFF): To reduce child, youth, and family homelessness, we are advocating to increase funding for WYFF from $4M to $10M.

4 key facts about WYFF:

  • Unlike traditional housing support services, WYFF uses flexible, creative, data-driven strategies tailored to meet people’s individual needs to equitably address homelessness.
  • WYFF grantees tailor services to youth and families, particularly in BIPOC and LGBTQ2+ communities.
  • In 2022, 8 WYFF grantees served 1,201 households experiencing homelessness. Of those enrolled in projects other than street outreach, 60% exited into stable housing.
  • Demand for this program in our state is very high. In 2022, 57 organizations applied for WYFF for a combined total of $37.5 million in requests. This was approximately 13 times the amount Building Changes had available to regrant.

Visit our Take Action page to track key bills we’re supporting and stay tuned for updates on how you can support these important priorities!

Get the latest news from Building Changes.