2021-2023 Biennium Review: Homelessness

Session review
Housing Human Services 

Homelessness is a complex social and economic issue that has had a particularly visible impact on Washington State over the past decade. While these visible impacts are tragic, the “unseen” impacts are incredibly costly to Washington taxpayers. As of 2020, Washington State was home to the fifth highest homeless population and home to the fourth highest veteran homeless population. In addition, chronic homelessness (individuals who have experienced homelessness for over one year) has skyrocketed in recent years. Contributing factors to homelessness include housing affordability, housing supply, unemployment, mental health, substance abuse, and access to resources. While the state legislature has made significant investments in some of these areas, namely housing supply, it has failed to appropriately address other contributing factors, such as substance abuse and access to resources.