MacEwen domestic violence bill passes Legislature, goes to governor

Shelton’s Turning Pointe, other rural shelters would get boost under new formula

OLYMPIA – Washington lawmakers gave final approval Tuesday to a bill that aims to improve funding for rural domestic violence shelters, inspired by the case of Shelton’s Turning Pointe shelter.

Senate Bill 5398, sponsored by Sen. Drew MacEwen, R-Shelton, directs the Department of Social and Health Services to devise a new funding formula suited to current demands on shelters in rural counties. The Senate voted 48-0 to concur with House amendments and send the bill to the governor for final consideration.

MacEwen said the bill was inspired by Turning Pointe’s not-so-unique situation. The shelter serves not just Mason County, but also victims from urban areas who seek refuge in Shelton to avoid detection. In addition, many agencies are adopting new models of rapid housing deployment in addition to communal shelters.

“Our funding formula really isn’t suited for the needs domestic violence shelters must deal with today,” MacEwen said. “Funding right now is based on county populations, and we should be looking at the number of people served.”

As a member of the state House of Representatives in 2022, MacEwen led efforts to allocate an additional $750,000 to domestic violence shelters based on bed capacity. MacEwen’s bill directs DSHS to create a task force to make recommendations about a new funding formula, and to make final decisions by July 1, 2024.