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From Don Fornoff, member of Bishop’s Task Force on Homelessness:

The Washington State Legislature has provided some movement towards dealing with homelessness and the housing crisis in the State. And as usual, some push back. But still, many parishes keep motoring on, as is the case at St. Dunstan’s in Shoreline. The Bishop’s Task Force on Homelessness has some thoughts for the diocese about these places.

First, in Olympia, neither HB 1389 (rent stabilization) nor HB 1124 (6 month’s notice for significant rent increases) were voted out of the House of Representatives by March 8 deadline. So, for two bills lined up to better prevent homelessness the work continues. Continued contact with your representatives is needed to let them know you care about these types of measures. It is all part of a three-pronged approach to the state’s housing crisis: boosting the supply of market rate housing, increasing funding for subsidized affordable housing, and stabilizing tenants struggling to afford rental housing. HB1074 did pass the House, and would require more documentation for landlords to keep a portion of a tenant’s security deposit.

HB 1474, concerning racial discrimination, passed the House. SB 5198, concerning the sale or lease of manufactured homes, passed the Senate. These types of bills face down the complications inherent in providing decent housing for everyone. As for following these bills and more, continue to be in contact with your district legislators, and look for town halls and other meetings to find out what they care about.

Meanwhile, nationally, the USICH is recommending advancing efforts to prevent evictions and end homelessness; promote rental affordability and fairness, and make progress toward universal housing vouchers for extremely low-income households; and build and preserve affordable housing.

Meanwhile, further, many parishes continue to address the issues of inequity and homelessness locally. In Shoreline, the church that feed’s people, St. Dunstan’s, has a weekly Community Dinner on Tuesdays. Their feeding ministry consists of the community dinner served on site, and distribution to 3 or 4 tent cities or tiny homes, about 400 meals each week. Their budget comes from parishioner pledges, fund raising and gleaning from local grocery stores. Food Lifeline provides cooperative support. As if that weren’t enough, St. Dunstan’s is a location for a City of Shoreline Severe Weather Emergency Shelter and have periodically hosted a tent encampment for approximately 35 persons, Camp United We Stand. Information was provided by Senior Warden Tina Polf, a member of the Bishop’s Task Force.

Bishop’s Task Force on Homelessness: Olympia and Shoreline

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