Washington State House Democrats


House Approves New Department of Housing Bill

OLYMPIA – Addressing the housing crisis is a top priority of Rep. Melanie Morgan (D-Spanaway), who introduced HB 2270 this year to begin the process to create a new Department of Housing. That bill passed the House of Representatives Friday afternoon by a vote of 58-39.

“The State of Washington has passed great laws, created many programs, and provided dollars to address our housing crisis. Yet we have not been able to end homelessness,” said Morgan. “Rent inflations have pushed working families to live in hotels, cars, or in a tent on the side of the street. Many of our constituents can’t participate in the American dream of homeownership. These are our neighbors, friends, coworkers, veterans, and victims of domestic violence. Homelessness and being priced out of a home can happen to any of us.”

Housing has been a top priority in the Legislature and the state administers a variety of housing and homelessness programs, through grants, funding non-profit organizations, and supporting affordable housing programs through the Housing Trust Fund. Those programs are spread throughout government agencies. HB 2270 would study the transition of those programs into a single state agency, with the results submitted to the Legislature and the Governor by July 1, 2025.

In 2021, there were more than 1,005 people in Pierce County in shelters, which only includes numbers reported by shelters, not those sleeping in cars, on the streets, or “couch-surfing” with friends or family members. The 2023 Point-In-Time Count in Pierce County showed that 36 percent of people who were homeless were women, 7 percent had children, and 41 percent were Black, Indigenous, or people of color.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.