Partners for Our Children

Overview of Substitute Senate Bill 6671:

The Legislature concludes that state and local homelessness strategies require more frequent review and transparent reporting of spending and performance to improve the development of cost-effective programs and identification of best practices.

Commerce’s annual Point-in-Time census must collect data on specific subpopulations of the homeless. At least every10 years, and subject to appropriation for this specific purpose, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy must conduct a statewide homeless study involving face-to-face interviews to better understand causes and characteristics of chronically homeless, unaccompanied homeless youth, and unsheltered populations to help persons gain housing stability. A study proposal is due to the Legislature by January 1, 2018.

The state homeless housing strategic plan must be updated by July 1, 2017 and every five years thereafter. The plan must be coordinated with the Office of Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection programs advisory committee and its strategies to reduce homeless youth. Commerce will create guidelines by October 1, 2016 for local governments to update their homeless housing plans by December 1, 2017 and every five years thereafter. Local plans must include a local homelessness reduction goal for the county and an implementation plan, including a more aggressive goal and plan for youth homelessness, to achieve the goal over the five-year plan period. Commerce may require changes in local plans to be eligible for state funding appropriated for homeless programs and may withhold funds and require changes if locals are not meeting performance goals

Each February 1, Commerce must provide an update on the state’s homeless housing strategic plan and its activities for the prior fiscal year. The report must include, but is not limited to: 1) an assessment of the current condition of homelessness; 2) the state’s performance in meeting its strategic plan goals; 3) the results of the annual homeless point-in-time census; 4) an analysis of current drivers of homelessness; and 5) the amount of federal, state, local, and private funds spent on homelessness assistance, categorized by funding source and major assistance types. The report must be posted on its website and links can be included to updated information.

Every February 1, any local government receiving state funds for homeless assistance must provide an annual performance report on meeting the goals in its homeless housing strategic plan. The report must be posted on Commerce’s website. Commerce must produce and report on local government homelessness spending from all sources by project during the prior state fiscal year in a format similar to the Commerce’s report under subsection. If a local government fails to report or provides an inadequate performance report, Commerce must take corrective action, including withholding state funding for homeless assistance until the report is remedied.

Revenue from document recording surcharges are revised. Revenue from the $10 Affordable Housing for All surcharge and the $40 surcharge are first split 40 percent to the state and 60 percent to the county. The county may use up to 6 percent of its funds for county collection and administrative costs. Of the $8 surcharge, counties may use up to 6 percent of its funds for county collection and administrative costs. State annual reporting and auditing of document recording surcharge usage changed to fiscal year and due dates are changed to align with due dates of annual performance reports.