State legislators representing the 40th and 42nd legislative districts released a letter today to the Whatcom County Executive and Council with information on available state resources to support the county’s Justice Implementation Plan. The legislators thanked the county for its work on the draft plan and expressed a commitment to partnership with the county from the state level.

The policies and budgets passed in the 2023 legislative session align with many of the projects outlined in the county’s draft justice plan, and funding is available from the state to support many of the county’s priorities, as described in the letter. Specific items in the county’s plan that were addressed by the state Legislature this year include addressing workforce shortages for behavioral health care, providing $9 million in state money for the Whatcom Crisis Relief Center, funding record-setting levels of investment in building supportive and affordable housing, and more.

“As Whatcom County takes on the hard work of developing their Justice Implementation Plan, your state legislators stand committed to help,” said Rep. Alex Ramel (D-Bellingham) of the 40th legislative district. “The bills and budgets we passed this year can really support and intersect with the work that the county is doing, and we’ll work together to make sure we’re getting every dollar of state support we possibly can for important programs in behavioral health, reentry services, stable and supportive housing for folks in need, and more.”

“We all want safer communities, where people in crisis or struggling with drugs or behavioral health issues can get the help they need and get better,” said Sen. Sharon Shewmake (D-Bellingham) of the 42nd legislative district. “Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community and it’s going to take state, federal and local government coming together with our partners in public health and safety.”