United Way Pacific Northwest Washington Update - January 26 ,2022

Legislative committees are starting to take action on bills considered during the first weeks of session. While many of our issues will be dealt with in the supplemental budget, bills and hearings help build legislative support for funding United Way priorities.

Legislation Seeks Health Care Approach to Homelessness
Last week, the House Committee on Health Care & Wellness held a hearing on a bold proposal to treat chronic homelessness as a health care condition. Under this proposal, the Apple Health and Homes Program would provide a supportive housing benefit to Medicare enrollees who meet eligibility criteria related to medical risk factors and barriers to finding stable housing. -  You can watch the hearing on HB 1866 on TVW. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Frank Chopp. While the program would have a cost, there is the expectation that some of the expense will be offset by savings in reduced medical and policing costs. 

State Treasurer Lays out Reasons for State Fund Tied to Apple Health Births
Committees in the House and Senate are perched to act on legislation that would create the Washington Future Fund which would fund a long-term savings and investment account for individuals born into families with limited means (funded by Apple Health) for the purpose of postsecondary education, purchasing a home, or starting a business. 
SB 5752 and  HB 1861 are scheduled for action later this week in their respective committees.  The bill was a request by the Washington State Treasurer whose office prepared this briefing paper on it.

Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Days - February 1 - 3
The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance is hosting advocacy days next week virtually by offering skill-building workshops and focusing public engagement with legislators on the issues of housing and homelessness.  Learn more at the nonprofit’s webpage.