A Message From State Representative Liz Berry:
|Dear friends and neighbors,|
Since the start of this legislative session, we declared that 2023 would be the year of housing here in Washington state. I’m thrilled to say that we delivered!
Below are just a few of the most important bills we passed and investments we made to build a future where every family has a safe, permanent, and affordable place to call home.
Increasing our middle housing supply (HB 1110): Washington needs to build more homes, period. Making it easier for our communities to build housing of all shapes and sizes not only provides more affordable options for families, but can help us slow urban sprawl, prevent deforestation, reduce traffic and protect our environment.
Easing barriers to accessory dwelling units (HB 1337): Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are some of the most affordable options to rapidly build up our supply of housing here in Washington. This bill makes it easier to bring these housing options to more of our communities.
Affordable housing through surplus public property (HB 1695): The state owns quite a bit of surplus land that isn’t being used right now. Why not use it for permanent affordable housing? This bill will make it easier to create deeply affordable housing for low-income neighbors for generations to come.
Protecting renters from unfair deposit claims (HB 1074): Ever had your rent deposit withheld and didn’t know why? This bill gives landlords 30 days to submit a statement for retaining any portion of a tenant’s deposit and substantiate the cost of those damages with documentation. It also prohibits landlords from withholding deposits in certain cases like normal wear and tear.
Covenant homeownership (HB 1474): Our state has a shameful history of using racist laws & covenants to deny families access to homeownership. And while those discriminatory covenants are no longer legal, the devastating effects are still felt today. This bill establishes a covenant homeownership account program to provide down payment and closing cost assistance to groups of people historically barred from homeownership because of these racist covenants.
And that’s not all! We also invested over $1.2 billion dollars to address our housing & homelessness crisis, including:
$400 million for the state’s Housing Trust Fund
$170 million for building affordable housing and shelter
$141 million for emergency housing and rental assistance.
$150 million for the covenant homeownership program
$124 million for low-income weatherization projects & energy efficiency rebates
$60 million for encampment response and outreach
$30 million to address children & youth homelessness
$27 million for the Housing and Essential Needs program
But our work isn’t done yet. We still need to do more to prioritize building affordable homes close to transit, schools and our workplaces. We also must protect renters from unsustainable rent increases.
There is no quick fix to our state’s housing crisis, but I’m confident that the bold steps we took this year puts us on the right path.
It’s an honor to serve you in the legislature! While session may be over, my door is always open. Please keep in touch by phone at (360) 786-7860 or online.
I look forward to seeing you around the district this interim!
State Representative Liz Berry
36th Legislative District
A Message from State Representative Liz Berry: