Lawmakers have introduced legislation to expand a pilot program that provides housing support to students who were in the foster system or are experiencing homelessness as they attend college in Washington.
The bill, sponsored by Reps. Mari Leavitt (D-University Place) and Michelle Caldier (R-Port Orchard), builds on an existing pilot program which was approved by the legislature in 2019. The pilot, known as the Supporting Students Experiencing Homelessness program, currently has eight colleges participating, including four-year, community and technical colleges, following an expansion approved during the 2021 legislative session.
For Caldier, who herself spent time in the foster system and who is a foster parent, the program provides needed support for students. While there was some opposition to the initial pilot program bill, last session’s expansion earned more support, especially among key Republican lawmakers. For the current bill, Caldier said her colleagues in Olympia have been supportive.
“It’s so far been very positive,” she said. “I don’t anticipate much pushback on this, and hopefully this will pass without any issues, especially in a short session.”