Two Steering Committee Members Testify to Senate Committee on Economic Assistance Programs

The Washington State Senate Human Services, Reentry and Rehabilitation Committee’s January 26 public hearing featured virtual public testimony from two members of the PRWG Steering Committee.

Amy Roark testified on Senate Bill 5214, which concerns economic assistance programs. Victoria Hilt testified on Senate Bill 5241, which promotes economic inclusion for people experiencing poverty.

Both pieces of legislation align with the 10-year Plan to Dismantle Poverty‘s strategies. You can read the meeting agenda here.

Amy, who also serves on the Clark County Community Advisory Board and the Washougal District Equity Advisory Team, described her own experiences using TANF, and how the benefits have increased only slightly since 1997.

“We shouldn’t have to make tough choices for what to pay for: the internet, or new school clothes for my kids,” she said. “The changes this bill would make would be extremely helpful for families like us.”

Here’s Amy’s testimony:

Victoria, who works with Bremerton’s early learning policy councils and housing authorities, talked about the importance of bringing in those affected by policies and procedures to the table and listening to their input.

“I’ve experienced the impact of our state’s complex systems of benefits and assistance, however you want to go about describing them, and I have to tell you, they’re complex. Some of them are redundant and have you completing redundant forms, and they’re confusing,” she said, noting the strain the process puts on clients and the state. “Supporting this bill and helping pass it through … is definitely worth it. I personally believe that it will improve our systems and have an added benefit of partnering with the people it’s supposed to elevate.

Here’s Victoria’s testimony:

You can watch the full video on TVW.

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