September 10, 2021
In the last issue in my session recap e-newsletter series, we covered some legislation we passed in the 2021 session in support of equity and racial justice. Today I’d like to touch on legislation we passed this session to provide for the basic needs of some of our state’s most vulnerable populations.
Investments to End Homelessness
In addition to passing landmark renter protections like the right to counsel when faced with eviction (SB 5160) and a just cause requirement for evictions (HB 1236), the budgets included major investments to address the growing crisis of homelessness in our state. Here are few examples:
- $58 million for permanent supportive housing services for individuals experiencing homelessness with complex behavioral and physical health conditions.
- $26 million to increase funding for adult mobile crisis teams, and for youth mobile crisis teams to expand services statewide.
- $20 million for long-term housing subsidies to serve clients with significant behavioral health needs.
- $11 million for the Anchor Communities Initiative to assist homeless youth and young adults with prevention, long-term housing, treatment, employment, and educational attainment.
- $23 million from federal funding for the HOME Investment Partnership to prioritize housing people experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of experiencing homelessness.
- $133 million for housing and homelessness assistance, including $20 million for hotel and motel vouchers, rapid rehousing, and associated services.
- $25 million for forensic navigators, crisis diversion and support, and housing and recovery services to keep individuals with significant behavioral health needs housed and prevent their inappropriate incarceration in local jails (as part of the Trueblood settlement).
- $13 million for opioid overdose prevention programs and $42 million in federal funding to expand substance use disorder services and supports including outreach, treatment, and recovery support services.
Supporting the Development of Young Children
As I reported during and after the legislative session, we passed historic legislation and investments that will substantially expand access to affordable quality childcare for families in Washington while stabilizing and growing the childcare industry.
Some provisions of the Fair Start for Kids Act have already gone into effect (like increased subsidy rates for providers and decreased co-pays for families), and many more will begin to take effect over time. Access to quality early childhood care and education is imperative for the development of young children, whose futures are significantly impacted by their experiences in these formative years. Every child deserves to get a fair start in life, regardless of the access to resources their parents have.
I recently held a Facebook Live event where I showed parents, caregivers, and providers how to find information on the Fair Start for Kids Act on the dedicated website created by DCYF: https://www.dcyf.wa.gov/about/government-affairs/fair-start-for-kids-act.
If you’re interested, watch the recording of the livestream now!
COVID-19: Protecting the Community
8 Reasons to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine NOW (if you haven’t already)
- The Delta variant is much more contagious than other strains of the virus and is accelerating the pandemic.
- Delta is impacting younger age groups more than previous variants.
- Unvaccinated people are about 29 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated according to a recent study.
- If you need to be hospitalized, you may not find a hospital that can help. The COVID-19 outbreak in our state is now so bad that hospitals are running out of intensive care beds as case numbers hit record highs.
- The COVID-19 vaccine has been carefully tested for safety. The FDA has fully approved the Pfizer vaccine, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines should soon follow.
- It will help protect our unvaccinated kids from getting sick and dying. Child COVID-19 cases have seen a fourfold increase over the past month.
- Getting vaccinated is the right thing to do to protect yourself, your family, and your community from serious illness or death.
- More vaccinations for COVID-19 mean a faster return to normal so you can fully enjoy the freedom to carry on with your daily life.
Don’t wait another second, get vaccinated NOW! Waiting too long allows the virus to continue spreading in the community and allows new variants to emerge. The sooner you get vaccinated, the sooner you are protected and the sooner we can contain the pandemic.
And remember, people who are fully vaccinated but have certain conditions affecting their immune systems may now be eligible for a third dose of the vaccine. Talk to your primary care physician to find out more, or check out the latest from the Department of Health
Vaccination Requirement FAQ for Providers of Child Care, Early Learning and Youth Development
On August 18, Governor Jay Inslee announced that most child care, early learning, and youth development providers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 18, 2021 or obtain a religious or medical accommodation.
The Department of Health recently issued a comprehensive list of answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for these providers.
This document lets you know which providers the requirement applies to, the vaccination time frame needed in order to be in compliance, how to find a vaccination site, and more.
If you’re a child care, early learning, or youth development provider with questions, click here to access the FAQ document.
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Keep an eye out for the next issue of my legislative session recap series, where I’ll share even more about the Legislature’s accomplishments this year! But in the meantime, I want to hear what you think about these and other issues affecting our community. My office will continue to welcome your thoughts and concerns, so please let us know what issues are important to you and your community. You can reach us at Claire.Wilson@leg.wa.gov.
Sen. Claire Wilson