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Lawmakers Seek Answers to Washington's Homelessness Crisis

Jeanie Lindsay
Northwest News Network
A legislative committee heard from advocates Tuesday to learn more about the state of homelessness in Washington state.

Homelessness is a matter of life and death, and state funding is vital. That was the message Tuesday as advocates for the homeless appeared before a legislative committee in Olympia.

Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium Executive Director Kay Murano told lawmakers the dangers of homelessness became clear in December when Washington communities memorialized people who had died on the streets.

“In those locations that I was aware of, 126 individuals died as a result of their homelessness,” Murano said. “Thirty-three of them were in Spokane.”

Murano said extreme winter conditions are a concern right now in communities like Spokane.

Three more panelists from Yakima, Snohomish and Pierce County urged the committee to save a county recording fee that helps fund affordable housing. A large part of that fee will sunset in 2019 unless the legislature takes action.