Written by Denise Miller, Firesteel Advocacy Coordinator
The state House of Representatives released their proposed budget today, and advocates like me were happy to learn that it included $2 million for the Homeless Student Stability Act, and $80 million for the Housing Trust Fund.
Despite that good news, I’m feeling wary. There’s a very good chance that the Senate budget proposal will look very different from that of the House, and that the legislature will be gridlocked for weeks or even months.
Whenever I’m feeling discouraged about the political process, I like to remind myself of the reason I do this work. It’s the voices behind the numbers that keep me going.
32,494. That’s the number of homeless students in Washington.
Taylor Henson is the voice. After Taylor’s mom left the military, their family ended up homeless. Listen to Taylor describe the stress and depression that he faced as a homeless student, and the life-changing joy that he found in photography.
Thinking about Taylor, and other students who experience homelessness, leads me to a couple of simple truths:
All families should have the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home.
Students shouldn’t have to experience homelessness and all the stress and pain that can go along with it.
Policies like the Homeless Student Stability Act and significant investment in the Housing Trust Fund can bring us closer to being a community where students can focus on learning, and not have to worry about where they will sleep each night. I hope you’ll join me in actively supporting them.
To hear more voices behind the numbers, please visit the StoryCorps section of our website.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Get in touch with lawmakers in Olympia. Tell them why you support the Homeless Student Stability Act and investment in the Housing Trust Fund. Not sure who your elected officials are? Not a problem! Just call the legislative hotline at 1.800.562.6000, and a friendly operator will look up your lawmakers and take a message for them. Or find your legislators online. Here’s a sample message you can leave:
“Please support two policies that will help end homelessness: SHB 1682 and significant investment in the Housing Trust Fund. The Homeless Student Stability Act will result in short- and long-term savings, as well as better educational, health, and life outcomes for students and their families. The Housing Trust Fund is Washington’s best tool for building and maintaining affordable homes.”