PULLMAN – Over 22 thousand people are deemed homeless in the state of Washington.
A new proposed bill aims to employ the homeless in three cities in Washington. Washington State Senator, Hans Zeiger of District 25, sponsors this bill and hopes it passes in April.
The Bill 5261 promotes a pilot program for two cities on the west side and one on the east side of the state. This bill plans to hire homeless people to clean up the environment for the local minimum wage. They will also be provided with housing services during their employment.
The bill passed in the Senate Committee of the Housing Stability and Affordability but the chamber must pass the bill before the 105 day legislature session ends after the bill’s first hearing.
“It’s something that has been well received in bipartisan way, people like the idea of encouraging work for people and there’s a lot of people who would like to work and had many barriers in doing so let’s help them to get a fresh start and do something productive for their communities,” said Zeiger.
“Obviously affordable housing is not the front line for addressing homelessness but it’s part of a larger problem and I think as a community, we step up and address these problems or they’re going to continue to build,” said the executive director of the Palouse Habitat for Humanity, Jennifer Wallace.
Another local program, Family Promise of the Palouse, help families in need find jobs, educational support, financial planning and affordable housing.