Housing, homelessness and behavioral health top Inslee’s budget priorities for 2023-25
Gov. Jay Inslee released his 2023–25 budget proposals today, urging legislators to continue prioritizing investments in housing, homelessness, and behavioral health with urgency and audacity. His budgets also outline updated plans for climate, salmon recovery, education, public safety, state workforce, and more.
At the heart of Inslee’s housing proposal is a referendum that will allow legislators to front-load $4 billion of housing construction over the next six years.
The underlying capital budget will fund approximately 2,200 housing units in 2023–25. The $4 billion referendum would add approximately 5,300 units additional units during that time, and 19,000 in the following three biennia.
“Unfortunately, we no longer have the influx of federal funding we are using today to quickly build thousands of new supportive housing units for people experiencing homelessness,” Inslee said. “I don’t want to lose momentum, and I don’t want the problem to get worse because we aren’t moving fast enough.”
The referendum would allow the state to issue bonds outside Washington’s debt limit. It requires approval by legislators and voters.
Washington state’s 2022 Point in Time Count indicates nearly 13,000 people are living unsheltered throughout Washington state, up from 10,506 in 2020. This follows a trend of skyrocketing housing prices and not enough housing supply.