Poverty reduction and housing investments in the supplemental budgets 

Friends and neighbors, 

Coming in to this legislative session, one of my top priorities was to support families with low incomes. I sought to do this through various avenues which included grants to help people with low income become more self-sufficient, removing the arbitrary lifetime cap on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and by addressing the housing crisis. 

Housing and poverty reduction in supplemental budgets 

Supplemental budgets are adjustment to our biennial budgets passed during odd years. This is meant to help us adjust our spending based on revenue forecasts and community and state needs. This year we continue funding housing and poverty reduction through the Capital and Operating Budgets.

Over the past few years, we have made significant investments in affordable housing through the Housing Trust Fund.  In last year’s Capital Budget, we put over $400 million into the housing trust fund and another $124 million toward home upgrades. This year we are building on those efforts. 

House Supplemental Capital Budget housing highlights: 

$160 million investment in housing, including: 

  • Projects to help get people into homes and out of homelessness. 
  • Housing investments to support individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities. 
  • Stability through increased homeownership and the preservation of existing affordable housing. 
  • Improving homes and combating climate change through multifamily energy efficiency grants. 

Investment in the operating budget must also be part of the solution to reduce poverty and turn the tide on the housing crisis. This year’s House proposal reflects this need with some critical budget priorities that will help our neighbors get out of homelessness and poverty. 

  • Low and moderate–income clean energy assistance – $150 million (Climate Commitment Act) 
  • Increased need for local homeless services – $40 million 
  • Support to existing local housing programs to backfill the document recording fee – $31 million 
  • Housing vulnerable populations, supporting tenants’ rights and homeownership – $26 million 
  • Food assistance for seniors, summer EBT for kids, and food banks – $73 million 

Major Newspapers Endorse Rent Stabilization 

A lot of conversation has been circulating around House Bill 2114 – known as Rent Stabilization – now some of our major papers have chimed in. Both the Seattle Times and the Everett Herald penned editorials supporting the bill its current form. I agree that it is a reasonable, workable, and important step to help us protect renters.

Read the Seattle Times’ endorsement.

Read the Everett Herald’s endorsement

Over the next two weeks – of the 2024 legislative session- we will continue to debate budgets and legislation. We must prioritize our most vulnerable neighbors in these decisions. As Chair of the Housing Committee and member of the Capital Budget Committee, I will keep working to make sure our budget reflects the needs of those in our communities who are experiencing homelessness or low incomes. 

Thank you,

Rep. Strom Peterson