Washington State House Democrats


Bill to address affordable housing crisis passes House

Legislative News from Rep. June Robinson, D-Everett

February 23, 2018

Bill to address affordable housing crisis passes House

OLYMPIA – A bill to address the affordable housing and homelessness crisis across Washington passed out of the House today on a 52-46 vote. House Bill 2437, sponsored by Rep. June Robinson, D-Everett, would allow counties and cities to use a portion of the state sales tax to leverage local investments in affordable housing.

“Providing a person with stable housing is not only the right thing to do, it is also cost-effective. Local governments are struggling to afford the costs associated with increases in homelessness, and are often only able to put band-aids on the problem,” said Robinson. “This bill will help these local jurisdictions make needed investments in affordable housing and begin to address some of the underlying causes.”

Recent reports have shown that the lack of affordable housing is leading to the increases in homelessness in our region. Different counties have different housing and revenue needs, HB 2437 will provide flexibility so local jurisdictions can determine what will be the most successful in meeting their needs.

HB 2437 allows counties or cities to use a portion of the state sales tax to invest in local affordable and supportive housing. The bill would not increase sales tax rates. The sales tax revenue would leverage local funds since, in order to impose the tax, the local jurisdiction must provide matching funds.

Funds may only be used for acquiring, rehabilitating, or constructing affordable housing; costs associated with operating or maintaining affordable or supportive housing; or rental assistance.

The bill now heads to the Senate.