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2019 Legislative Agenda

 

PRIORITY AGENDA

Invest in Data-driven & Equitable Innovation

Measure success and support solutions that target racial disproportionality.

  • Washington Youth and Families Fund (WYFF): Secure an additional $2 million for this public-private partnership that invests in innovative programs serving youth and families experiencing homelessness.
  • Homeless Student Stability Program (HSSP): Secure an additional $2 million in funding and make technical improvements to increase access to building points of contact; increase focus on racial equity and geographic diversity for grants programs to improve outcomes for students experiencing homelessness.

Strengthen What Works

Expand access to proven culturally relevant and effective programs.

  • Shelter & housing for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness: $5 million per biennium to continue and increase emergency shelter, young adult housing, and other Office of Homeless Youth programs.

Build System Capacity

 Support comprehensive responses that promote racial equity and involve the whole community in caring for young people.
  • Anchor Communities Initiative: $4 million per biennium to support services in four Washington communities (Walla Walla, Pierce County, Yakima, and Spokane) as they build a system to end youth homelessness.
  • Wraparound support for college students experiencing homelessness: Provide case management, housing, showers, and lockers for students experiencing homelessness.

Reform System Response 

Replace punishment with support and reduce the over-representation of youth of color in the justice system.

  • Trauma-informed approach to non-criminal offenses: End practice of jailing minors for truancy, running from foster care placement, or violating ARY/CHINS petitions.
  • Expand community supports for families and youth in crisis
  • Build a victim-centered system: Address the commercial sexual exploitation of children by exempting minors from arrest for the charge of prostitution.
 
In 2015, the Legislature identified six key strategies to prevent and end youth and young adult homelessness: stable housing, family reunification, permanent connections, education, employment, and social/emotional well-being.
These approaches must be paired with a focus on racial equity and undoing racial disproportionality. WACHYA’s 2019 priority legislative agenda advances each of these strategies and moves us towards our vision of every young person in Washington having the safety, stability, and support needed to thrive.

The Washington Coalition for Homeless Youth Advocacy (WACHYA) is a statewide partnership of providers, funders, and advocates dedicated to improving the lives of youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. WACHYA’s vision is that every night, every homeless youth in Washington state has a safe place to stay and the support they need to thrive and achieve healthy adulthood.

 SUPPORT AGENDA

  • Support foster youth at high risk of homelessness with high-intensity services for transition-age youth. Sustain and expand the YVLifeSet program in King County and introduce in a new jurisdiction.
  • Build educational equity for homeless students through budget and policy recommendations.
  • Fund the Housing Trust Fund at $200 million in the capital budget.
  • Increase high school graduation rates for teen parents through GRADS (Graduation, Reality, and Dual Roles Skills).
  • Expand Open Doors funding to include summer quarter.
  • Expand Working Families Tax Rebate.
  • Increase revenue for critical programs by closing the Capital Gains Loophole.
 

About WACHYA

The Washington Coalition for Homeless Youth Advocacy (WACHYA) is a statewide partnership of providers, funders, and advocates dedicated to improving the lives of youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. WACHYA’s vision is that every night, every homeless youth in Washington state has a safe place to stay and the support they need to thrive and achieve healthy adulthood.
 
Liz Trautman, Chair | Director of Public Policy & Advocacy, The Mockingbird Society | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Shoshana Wineburg, Vice Chair | Public Policy & Communications Manager, YouthCare | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.