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Inslee announces proposals to reduce homelessness in ’23 legislative session

2022-11-02 Inslee homelessness.jpg
Video still from TVW
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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee discusses proposals to reduce homelessness at a press conference, Civic Hotel in Seattle, November 2, 2022.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the state has made great strides in reducing chronic homelessness, but more needs to be done. Inslee said this week he plans to ask the legislature for more help.

Recent point-in-time counts indicate more than 12,000 Washingtonians are living through homelessness, according to the governor’s office. Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Inslee complimented progress made under a recent $829 million funding package aimed at reducing homelessness, but said additional steps are needed in the coming year.

Inslee unveiled several proposals he plans to take to lawmakers in January for action. They include making zoning rules friendlier to a broader range of housing; increasing housing along transit corridors; expediting permits for housing construction; and more mental health treatment options and wraparound services that help get people into housing.

“I think it’s important as we do this, that we provide solutions through the spectrum of housing. How to get someone into a tiny house next week,” Inslee said. “How to get someone in a converted hotel next month. How to build a new facility of 100 units, like I saw in Vancouver, that’s a more permanent situation. We need to make investments throughout that spectrum.”

Inslee said the state isn’t the only player in the game. For housing efforts to be successful, he said, all levels of government need to work together, along with nonprofits.

The governor’s office estimated Washington had a housing deficit of about 76,000 units in 2020.

Brandon Hollingsworth is your All Things Considered host. He has served public radio audiences for fifteen years, primarily in reporting, hosting and interviewing. His previous ports-of-call were WUOT-FM in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Alabama Public Radio. His work has been heard nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here and Now and NPR’s top-of-the-hour newscasts.