SB 5656 addresses the homeless crisis in this state. It requires the department of social and health services to develop a process to locate unaccompanied homeless children with the goal of returning the child to his or her parent or legal guardian. It also finds a parent, legal guardian, or caregiver guilty of a misdemeanor if he or she knowingly fails to notify law enforcement within forty-eight hours of learning that a child in his or her care is missing. It declares that, homeless individuals subject to enforcement should be directed to emergency shelters, community resources, drug or mental health court, or other interventional services. It declares an intent to review state and local homelessness prevention, assistance, and housing efforts on a more frequent basis to improve the development of cost effective programs and identification of best practices to expand housing security. It requires the department of commerce to provide an update on the state's homeless housing strategic plan and its activities for the prior fiscal year and makes the following appropriations: (1) From the general fund to the department of commerce to be distributed to five housing authorities to implement a quality management system and prepare and submit an application to the Washington quality awards program; (2) From the general fund to the department of commerce to be distributed to five community action agencies to implement a quality management system and prepare and submit an application to the Washington quality awards program; and (3) From the general fund to the state auditor's office for an audit to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of state homeless programs.
Scheduled for executive session in the Senate Committee on Human Services, Mental Health & Housing on Feb 15th at 1:30 PM, no action was taken.