United Ways of Pacific Northwest Washington Update - January 11,2022

Welcome to 2022. The Washington State Legislative Session has begun. . another mostly virtual session as a result of the rise in the COVID-19 Omicron variant. But your United Ways of Washington will be monitoring activity and sharing with you what we learn. New folks sign up for this newsletter.  We will try to send out information on a weekly basis. Here some news to get you started.

New Legislative Framework Identified for Upcoming Sessions 
As in previous legislative sessions, the United Ways of Washington has identified the need to continue working on economic assistance, child care and early learning, housing affordability and homeless services and support for Washington 211. But in addition to those needs which are articulated on our website, the United Ways of Washington is calling for a statewide disaster fund that will encourage local and regional preparedness and response to wildfires, floods and other natural events that cause disruption. In January, we will be reporting on legislative activities that promote these goals. Stay tuned!

Governor's Proposed Supplemental Budget Targets Homelessness and Poverty
Governor Jay Inslee proposed his supplemental budget (changes to the two-year budget adopted last session) last month which would increase funding of emergency shelter and permanent housing and supportive services by over $800 million. Here's his policy paper on homelessness. The budget also proposes an additional $248 million for programs intende to reduce poverty. More details.

Dolly Parton Imagination Library Expanding Across Washington
Thanks to a $2.3 million two-year matching grant from the WA Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, we will be coordinating a major expansion of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.  Former United Way of Cowlitz County CEO Brooke Fisher-Clark will direct this work, with the goal of greatly increasing the number of birth-5 kids and families registered to receive monthly mailing of high-quality books for early learning.  The annual cost for this amazing resource is only $25.  Local affiliates will raise half the funds with the state funds providing the matching half.

A Rough End of Year But We Made It
If you work, volunteer or provide financial support to your local United Way, thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you! Every day, our participating United Ways foster community investment that improves the lives of those who have less. Whether it’s ensuring children are fed, safe and nurtured, finding learning activities and work experience for older youth or providing for and advocating for an effective social safety net, our United Ways are a locus for positive change. Your involvement is important to us and we congratulate you on the work you do in making our world a better place.  Happy New Year!