Gov. Inslee touts homeless housing successes, lays out new proposals

Nov 2, 2022, 3:48 PM
Inslee Homelessness...
Left to right: Gov. Jay Inslee was joined at a press conference at Civic Hotel in Seattle by Marc Dones, CEO of King County Regional Homelessness Authority; Tedd Kelleher from the Washington State Department of Commerce; Chief John Batiste of the Washington State Patrol; deputy director of Downtown Emergency Service Center and state representative Nicole Macri; Roger Millar, secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation; Brett D’Antonio, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County & Kittitas; and Lisa Daugaard, executive director of Public Defender Association. (Photo courtesy Gov. Jay Inslee's office)
(Photo courtesy Gov. Jay Inslee's office)

Gov. Jay Inslee said the policies and investments approved this year to address Washington’s housing and homelessness crisis are working.

But Inslee emphasized there’s more work to be done.

“Homelessness and housing affordability is hurting communities all across the country. The scale of this challenge is daunting, but we are learning that the new approaches we’re taking can and will work,” Inslee said.

“There is no simple answer for fixing homelessness fast. In the short term, we need more shelters that provide more services so people get back on their feet. Over the long term, we need more housing that average workers can afford. Both of those solutions require every community to do their part.”

Inslee tours homeless shelter

Speaking after a tour of a Seattle homeless shelter, the governor touted programs such as Rapid Rehousing.

The effort allows communities to purchase properties such as hotels and apartment buildings that can quickly be turned into shelter and housing.

Incentive program looks to house homeless with help from Seattle landlords

This also includes permanent supportive housing which has been identified as the primary need in getting the chronically homeless off the streets.

Inslee also highlighted other programs he called successes such as his Right of Way Safety Initiative. The policy focuses on getting people out of dangerous encampments along state highways and connected with housing and services.

New proposals in upcoming legislative session

Despite making inroads, Inslee said there is much more work to be done.

The governor said with the next legislative session just two months away, lawmakers are hard at work on other bills intended to tackle housing and homelessness in new ways.

Among the new proposals, there is an effort to create a public-private partnership program that includes ensuring some units are priced affordably.

Speeding up housing construction will also be on the docket for the upcoming legislative session.

To address that, Inslee pointed to a bill Democratic Senator Mark Mullet is working on to create a pilot program and digital permitting platform to give the state a solid policy foundation to work from.

Inslee said he is also working with legislators to find ways to help lower income renters and home buyers get their foot in the door.

Incentives for homesellers

One idea is to expand the Real Estate Excise Tax exemption for people who sell their homes to first-time home buyers in the state’s home buyer program. Under this initiative, transfers of real property to qualifying entities will no longer be subject to real estate excise tax.

The governor said this would help level the playing field for those buyers to make their offer more competitive. The governor’s office says thousands of people already use this program every year.


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Gov. Inslee touts homeless housing successes, lays out new proposals