On Feb. 25, the state House passed a bill from Rep. Mari Leavitt (D-University Place) to provide food and cash assistance to low-income families and update the standards of need for cash assistance programs, which were last updated three decades ago.
The bill, HB 1151, passed in an 82-16 vote with strong bipartisan support.
“This bill provides critical assistance to families struggling to make ends meet,” Leavitt said. “Families are holding on by a string, and this relief will go a long way towards alleviating the real hardships that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The legislation extends the time period that individuals can receive emergency cash assistance, provides families a one-time cash benefit and five months of food assistance, and requires the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services to update the standards of need for cash assistance programs — last updated in 1991.
“These standards are based on what was needed in 1991. But now, those needs have changed, and our standards for determining need should change too,” Leavitt added.
HB 1151 is now headed to the Senate for further consideration.