Yakima County Legislators Secure Funds to Fight Homelessness

Local legislators made a big impact on homelessness in Yakima County this session.

Two projects sponsored by Rep. Jeremie Dufault were funded in the state's Supplemental Capital Budget. One was a $2 million request from Rod's House in Yakima, and the other was a $100,000 request from the Noah's Ark Homeless Shelter in Wapato.

A $275,000 request from Yakima County to convert an empty jail into a shelter was also funded. That project was sponsored by Sen. Jim Honeyford (R-Sunnyside).

Yakima County's legislators spent the 60-day session advocating for the three projects. This involved partnering with legislators from across the aisle and around the state, building support for spending scarce supplemental budget dollars in the Yakima Valley.

Legislators from the 15th District advocated for the Rod's House funding in collaboration with longtime Speaker of the House Frank Chopp (D-Seattle), who has championed projects like these across the state throughout his career. Rep. Debra Lekanoff (D-Bow), an advocate for the state's Native American tribes, co-sponsored the request for Noah's Ark Homeless Shelter.

“These projects are not just band-aids” said Dufault, a Selah Republican. “They are part of a mix of services that work to solve homelessness for these people in a permanent way.”

The $2 million for Rod's House will pay for the creation of a multi-use shelter for homeless teens and young adults in Union Gap, provided that the city approves the project. The shelter would include as many as 20 beds, as well as medical, educational and job training services. The $100,000 for the Noah's Ark Homeless Shelter will pay for renovations and repairs, including replacing electrical wiring, sections of the shelter's floor, and some windows.

The $275,000 requested by Yakima County will pay for the conversion of the jail on Pacific Avenue into a shelter for veterans, the homeless, and victims of domestic violence. Apart from beds, this shelter will also provide substance abuse and mental health services.

“I am glad to be able to help secure the money for projects like this,” said Honeyford. “They are the sorts of things that help all of us make the Yakima Valley a better place.”

The Legislature unanimously approved the supplemental Capital Budget on the final day of this year's legislative session, March 12.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov