What is it?
Washington state enacted a modest fee on some real estate-related documents almost 10 years ago to support housing and homelessness programs. These fees were scheduled to reduce by $10 in July 2015, and then reduce by another $20 in July 2017. This would have resulted in a loss of more than half of total current funding for homelessness programs across the state.
What’s the impact?
YWCAs across the state provide programs to prevent homelessness, and to help people transition off the streets into shelters and homes. The document recording fees are the state’s greatest funding source for homelessness programs. If the fees expire, YWCAs and other service providers will be forced to make severe cuts or close.
In the video below, Mindy Woods, a Navy veteran and single mom, shares her story of becoming homeless with her teenage son. She spoke at a press conference to support extending the fees.
What happened in 2014?
The fees were extended through 2019. While we’re disappointed that they weren’t made permanent, we’re glad that funding for vital services is protected for a few more years. The bill to extend the fees almost died in the senate; your phone calls and messages to legislators brought it back to life. Advocacy works!
What can you do?
Keep the conversation going! Share stories and articles about homelessness that you find on Firesteel and elsewhere.