The Governor’s supplemental budget invests heavily in efforts to combat chronic homelessness. Included in the budget is funding for 2,100 local shelter beds across the state as well as funding to provide rental and other housing assistance to more than 3,000 homeless individuals. The Governor’s plan is projected to cost $146 M in the current supplemental budget and more than $300 M over the next three years.
Some of the highlights include $66 M for a new statewide grant program to help increase temporary shelter beds and for the costs of operating and maintaining these facilities.
The budget provides $26 M to the Housing and Essential Needs program to provide program improvements in the form of additional rental assistance to serve approximately 2,300 more individuals. This program serves those who are unable to work due to a physical or mental incapacity, 50% of whom are homeless when they enter the program.
Another $30 M goes toward a competitive grant for the construction of new enhanced shelters, or the conversion of basic shelters to enhanced shelters through facility improvements such as laundries, bathrooms, and storage spaces.
Additional funding is allocated to supportive housing to ensure that 1,200 of the highest need, chronically homeless individuals will receive permanent supportive housing assistance (a combination of rent assistance with support services and health care).
Significant investments were also made in the behavioral health budget. An overall 5% increase is provided to the Administrative Service Organizations for persons and services not covered by Medicaid.
These flexible, non-Medicaid funds can be used for court costs related to persons committed under the Involuntary Treatment Act, community inpatient services, crisis and commitment services, and residential services. Additional non-Medicaid funding is greatly needed, however it is still not sufficient to cover many of the services that must be provided for using non-Medicaid funds.
The Governor’s budget also increases the rates for the Behavioral Health Administrative Service Organizations (BHASOs) by an average of 15%.
Very little was included in this budget related to public safety. There is funding provided in the amount of $150K from the dedicated marijuana account for one intelligence analyst in 2021 to focus on cartel, organized crime, gang, and gun violence activities to assist in ongoing task forces.
There is also included $600K to provide grants to law enforcement to implement group violence intervention strategies in areas with high gun violence. This grant program will fund two sites, with priority given to Yakima and South King County.