Volunteer wildfire firefighters at a wildfire training course. Two people walk towards a fire burning. Most of the photo is smoke.

WA prisoners struggle with wildfire smoke as ventilation upgrades go unfunded

BY: - September 25, 2023

When the wildfire smoke arrives, Harry Whitman has nowhere to go.  “When there’s smoke or there’s a fire, they lock you in,” Whitman said.  Whitman, president of the advocacy group Black Prisoners’ Caucus, is incarcerated at Airway Heights Corrections Center. The prison is located less than 10 miles away from Medical Lake, Washington, where Gray […]

Washington Senate’s budget-writing panel gets a new leader

BY: - September 21, 2023

Sen. June Robinson, an Everett Democrat, was named Thursday as the new chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, the budget-writing panel responsible for developing tax policies and deciding how the state spends billions of dollars each year. Robinson, the committee vice chair for the operating budget and revenue the last three sessions, was […]

A low angle photo of an unfinished four-story apartment building, showing exposed plywood and other lumber

Data shows drop in multifamily home construction in Washington

BY: - September 12, 2023

Building permits for apartments and other multifamily housing in Washington were down in the second quarter of the year while permits for single-family homes continued to rise.  Numbers the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released Tuesday showed housing construction overall in the last four years slowed, but mostly because of a 7,000-unit drop during […]

The outlook for new statewide renter protections in Washington

BY: - September 11, 2023

Steep rent hikes across Washington have spurred local governments into taking action to help keep tenants in their homes, despite landlord pushback against these types of policies. In Bellingham, a November ballot initiative would offer new tenant protections when landlords hike rent by more than 8%. The Seattle City Council has discussed legislation to prevent […]

Couch, car or curb: Defining which young person is ‘homeless’ affects aid state by state

BY: - August 21, 2023

The spectrum of youth homelessness is vast. It includes young children sleeping with their mothers in crowded shelters and families living in tent encampments in public parks. There are teenage runaways who have fled abusive homes to live on the streets and kids who spend their nights hidden in cars or abandoned buildings. But youth […]

Washington plans to end hotel stays for foster kids by late next year 

BY: - August 21, 2023

Washington will attempt to eliminate short-term stays in hotels and other locations for foster children by December 2024, according to a new plan from the state Department of Children, Youth, and Families. The plan, released in early August, comes after advocacy groups sued the state over placing foster youth in temporary locations such as hotels, […]

A low angle photo of an unfinished four-story apartment building, showing exposed plywood and other lumber

How Washington is treating housing as health care

BY: - August 18, 2023

Washington is trying something new when it comes to housing: treating it as health care. Apple Health and Homes is a multi-agency state program launched last year that focuses on providing housing to people with health and behavioral health challenges. What’s unique is that the program taps Medicaid dollars to pay for housing subsidies, tenant […]

State completes acquisition of shuttered Tukwila psychiatric hospital

BY: - August 14, 2023

Washington will officially take over a closed Tukwila psychiatric hospital on Tuesday after spending nearly $30 million to acquire the property. The Cascade Behavioral Health Hospital purchase is expected to add 100 new beds for patients who are committed to state hospitals. Officials said this should free up beds for people in jail awaiting competency […]

The latest flare-up over Washington’s heat pump rules

BY: - August 9, 2023

Washington regulators derailed earlier this year when they tried to mandate electric heat pumps, rather than natural gas, be used to warm newly built homes and apartments. But now a path is emerging for them to offer builders incentives to choose heat pumps instead of gas and to make obtaining a construction permit more difficult […]

WA Sen. Patty Murray proposes new grants to help prevent youth homelessness

BY: - August 8, 2023

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on Tuesday announced legislation that seeks to funnel more federal dollars to local programs that help prevent youth homelessness.  The bill would create two new grant programs. Funding from the grants would help pay for efforts to intervene before a youth or young adult becomes homeless, such as helplines or […]

A low angle photo of an unfinished four-story apartment building, showing exposed plywood and other lumber

New state housing dollars a ‘drop in the bucket’ compared to need

BY: - July 31, 2023

Despite record investments in housing this year, the state must continue pumping more money toward affordable housing and rent stabilization to curb homelessness in Washington, advocates told lawmakers Wednesday.  At a state Senate Housing committee meeting in Vancouver, lawmakers heard from state and local leaders about what else is needed to address the housing and […]

The new law giving mobile home residents a chance to buy their parks

BY: - July 26, 2023

A mobile home park in Moses Lake is up for sale and a new state law assures residents a shot at buying the property. In the past they might’ve never known it was on the market until after it was sold. Owners of North Pointe notified residents on July 17 that they are looking to […]