I believe we can end homelessness with carefully developed programs and adequate funding. In 2005, the legislature enacted the use of a portion of county recording fees for programs to reduce homelessness. Now, these fees provide the state's most significant funding source for such programs. In Whatcom County, the Homeless Service Center was created and continues to be maintained using these funds. Since the center began in 2008, overall homelessness has decreased by 34 percent! This funding also makes interagency coordination more feasible.
Unfortunately, this fee is set to be reduced beginning July 2015 and the reductions would result in a loss of 62.5 percent of total current funding for homelessness. If this happens, effective programs in Whatcom County will experience severe cuts or close.
As for my own experience, when researching how to record a real estate document, I was rather irritated when I saw the fee I would have to pay. But, when I learned about the importance of this as funding for homeless programs, my attitude changed. I was happy to know that I was contributing in some small way to improving the lives of my homeless neighbors.
I ask 40th and 42nd District legislators to support passage of SB 6313 and HB 2368 to keep this funding secure.