The Council on Housing is a required entity through contract with the Department of Commerce and Housing and Urban Development and as mandated by RCW 36.22.179, which created the Homeless Housing Fund. As part of these mandates, each County is required to have a governing body that provides expertise and direction on the 5-year homeless plan, education, advocacy on homeless issues within the County and allocation of homeless housing funds. A version of this governing body, the Council on Homelessness, has been in existence since the early 90’s but was not formalized until 2005 with the passage of House Bill 2163 and the associated RCW as mentioned above.
A formal community forum was held May 10, 2018 to discuss what changes needed to occur to the Council on Homelessness in order to make it a stronger, more inclusive governing body. Community services providers and individuals in the Walla Walla community made recommendations on how to increase transparency, the ability to achieve the goal of ending homelessness, and to better serve the community. This community feedback also indicated that the existing Council on Homelessness be retired, and a new governing body be created in its place – the Walla Walla County Council on Housing.
The Walla Walla County Council on Housing By-Laws were adopted by the Walla Walla County Commissioners on November 5, 2018, including the organizational structure of the Council. The organizational structure was created with extensive input from service providers and community members. See below for the adopted By-Laws and Organizational Chart.