Washington lawmakers doubt Gov. Inslee’s homelessness plan will pass as is

Washington legislative leaders say Governor Jay Inslee’s plan to use hundreds of millions of dollars from the state’s emergency budget reserve to combat homelessness is unlikely to pass the Legislature. Last month Inslee said he wants to spend more than 300 million dollars from the state’s rainy day fund to add 2100 shelter beds and provide other help to people without shelter. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig applauded the governor for making homelessness a priority but isn’t sure the votes will be there to use the rainy day fund. Republican Senator Mark Schoesler also was dubious of the plan to take reserve money to pay for things that will require ongoing funding. Inslee says Washington must do more to find housing for people, as the state has the fifth-highest per-capita rate of homelessness of all U.S. states. In addition to adding shelter beds, Inslee wants to give rental and other housing assistance to more than 3,000 people. His plan would cost 146 million dollars during the 2019-2021 two-year budget cycle and ultimately cost 300 million over three years. The state currently has about 2-and-a-half Billion dollars in its emergency fund. The Democrat-controlled Legislature convenes Monday and will consider Inslee’s proposal as it adjusts the state’s current 52.4 billion dollar, two-year budget. (AP)