During the 2020 Legislative Session, Solid Ground’s advocacy partner, Statewide Poverty Action Network, worked alongside community advocates, direct-service organizations, labor unions, and other activists throughout Washington State to pass progressive, anti-poverty policy.
The bills successfully passed this session will strengthen Washington State’s safety net programs – which will in turn provide relief for children and adults during times of hardship, support adults with disabilities, and boost consumer protections for people managing debt.
Strengthening financial lifelines for families
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) offers lifeline financial assistance as well as education and job training for families living on low incomes.
- Thanks to legislation passed this session, two of TANF’s strict policies – full-family sanctions and time limits – have been eased, allowing for the program to more comprehensively support the families it serves.
- The Child Support Pass-Through also successfully passed. This will allow families to receive a portion of their child support (between $50-$100, depending on family size) alongside their TANF grant.
Increasing support for adults with disabilities
- Homelessness Prevention Pilot Program: Lawmakers allocated $5 million toward this pilot, which will offer a shallow rent subsidy for people living on Social Security in high cost-of-living areas of the state.
- Eliminating Washington State’s Shelter Penalty: Our Shelter Penalty, a policy that mandated that people with access to a no-cost housing arrangement receive a lower grant, has been successfully eliminated. Now, all recipients of state assistance programs – including TANF, Pregnant Women’s Assistance, State Family Assistance, Aged, Blind, or Disabled (ABD), and Refugee Cash Assistance – will receive a standard monthly cash grant for the program they are eligible for – regardless of their housing situation.
- Housing & Essential Needs (HEN): An additional $15 million was added into the Supplemental Budget for increased funding for the state’s HEN program, which offers housing assistance to adults with disabilities.
Boosting statewide consumer protections
- Foreclosure prevention funding: Lawmakers invested $607,000 toward foreclosure prevention services. This money will pay for legal aid attorneys, mediators, housing counselors, and other foreclosure relief and prevention services.
- Proof of Debt: Legislation was passed this session that requires debt buyers to first prove that the debt is actually owed by the person they are naming in the lawsuit before they can file a claim.
For more information on the Washington State 2020 legislative session, please read Poverty Action’s session recap.