House passes Peterson bills to help families with low incomes 

OLYMPIA – The House of Representatives has passed a pair of bills that will help families with low incomes find better financial stability. House Bills 2230 and 2007, sponsored by Rep. Strom Peterson, D-Edmonds, take significant steps in removing barriers facing families with low incomes. 

House Bill 2230 creates the Economic Security for All program to promote economic inclusion and self-sufficiency for people with low incomes. This program will allocate grants to families and individuals below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $30,120 for individuals and $62,400 for a family of four annually. These grants are designed to help families with low incomes become more self-sufficient and focus especially on supporting people of color and rural residents. 

“Many low-income families are only a small financial boost away from self-sufficiency,” said Peterson. “Establishing the Economic Security for All grant program to promote financial stability helps our neighbors climb out of poverty and is smart stewardship of taxpayer dollars.” 

For context, a little over 15 percent of Washington families make less than $50,000 per year – according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Just under 16 percent of families make less than $75,000 per year. 

House Bill 2007 ends an arbitrary lifetime cap on assistance from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Currently, families are limited to a 6-month lifetime cap on assistance. 

“Families with low incomes face numerous challenges. As they work toward financial stability, we need to make sure that assistance remains available until their financial situation improves. Putting in an arbitrary time limit doesn’t serve to help families find security.” 

Both bills now head to the Senate for consideration.