2023 Legislative Agenda The Washington State Community Action Partnership believes ending generational poverty and inequity are the right things to do. As we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and gain the ability to see the changes it created, good and bad, we must urge Washington State Legislators to summon the moral and political will to invest in healthy, just, and sustainable communities. Stabilizing and equipping our neighbors living in poverty are critical steps in helping them to achieve long-term prosperity.
Top Legislative Priorities
• Continue WA’s Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) match funding with a $15.45M proviso that centers BIPOC and rural communities.
CSBG is the catalyst funding for Community Action Agencies (CAAs) to deliver economic relief services and to sustain a locally powered and accountable infrastructure for social and economic justice in all 39 counties. CSBG returns up to $56 to Washington for every dollar invested and ensures people with lived experience have a seat at the table in how these funds serve their community. After helping Washington State deliver hundreds of millions of dollars in pandemic rental, utility, food, and other assistance throughout the Pandemic, the Legislature made Washington the first state to match this modest but critical funding stream one-to-one with a BIPOC and rural equity focus. Please continue this historic and deeply impactful investment in the fight to end poverty in Washington State.
• Support the Governor’s Proposal for $41M in the Low-Income Home Weatherization Plus Health (Wx+H) Program
Weatherization improves the efficiency and affordability of homes by reducing energy costs and consumption by an average of 25% for low-income households. Weatherization Plus Health allows the state to leverage the federal Weatherization program, as well as state and utility dollars to provide other health and safety measures like indoor air quality and accessibility improvements, as well as minor home repair. The Governor’s $41M proposal for Weatherization Plus Health is critical to access the highly restricted federal funds coming from the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act and ensure Plus Health benefits are delivered statewide. Weatherization Plus Health is uniquely positioned to serve Washington’s housing, health and energy justice needs, especially with the flexibility to clear home repair waitlists, improve both energy and water efficiency, and promote fuel switching. We must also ensure these investments grow the weatherization workforce through training, contractor support and recruitment, as well as streamlining prevailing wage requirements for these small residential projects.
• Enact the Governor’s $50M proposal for utility assistance through Community Action
Community Action served 110,000 Washington families with utility assistance in 2021, absorbing 64% growth in the program over the previous two years. Governor Inslee’s proposal is a step in the right direction to ending energy poverty. These funds should be structured to support provider capacity, customer access, and modernize delivery of these programs.