This past Wednesday was Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day, and I had the chance to meet with 46th Legislative District constituents from YouthCare and the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance. Every time I meet with these groups I am moved and Wednesday was no different. These kids have gone through more in their short lives and are stronger than most adults I know.
10 years ago one of our constituents was homeless and as he said, high on drugs. When speaking to us today his past is not apparent – he is healthy, and articulate. He credited services from the Housing and Essential Needs program for saving his life. He is living proof that safety net programs save lives. The people who succeed are often invisible because the programs create productive members of our community, and we don’t know about the struggles they faced and the help that they got.
Another constituent who is a barista told us about how she had to pay ten screening fees of $35 each before she was accepted as a renter. $350 is 1/3 of her monthly budget. It is unconscionable to me that someone must pay 1/3rd of their budget for the same piece of paper being re-printed multiple times. We need laws that are fair to landlords AND fair to tenants.
We still have a lot of work to do to and we had a lot of energy at the Capitol today, but the momentum needs to continue to solve these issues.