Community

Schools and Planning for Growth

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Every child should succeed in school and in life, and it all starts with a safe, stable place to call home.

What that home looks like, where it’s located and how much it costs can help define what success is for our community’s kids.

When we consider generational impacts while planning for Bellingham’s residential growth, nowhere are they felt more than in our public schools and with growing families. If we start to look at what success means for kids that enter kindergarten this fall, in 2017, the decisions we make will begin to bear fruit for them—or not—in 2030. When they graduate, will they even be able to afford to live here?

Along the way, our decisions to create fair, equitable, accessible and safe housing choices for families will affect who lives in our community and what it looks like. Do we value having people who work here also live here? Is it better for families and kids to grow up in local neighborhoods and feel connected to their community? Is it better for the environment and people’s health? From what we’ve gathered over the last 25-plus years of living here, we think the answers are yes.

Two of the tenants of the School District’s Bellingham Promise are that diversity enhances a strong and healthy community, and that together we achieve more than alone.

To us, housing is an equity and fairness issue. By not allowing people access to different housing types like townhouses, duplexes, backyard cottages and mother-in-law units over garages, we are effectively denying housing to people mostly with lower incomes. That includes young families with children in our school district. In many cases, equitable housing choices could allow for kids to walk to their schools.

The Bellingham School District believes in the One Schoolhouse approach—that all of our schools must be equitable—from high-quality buildings, to opportunities for enrichment, high-quality teaching and learning, and above all, that all children should be loved.

What if these kinds of priorities and values were reflected in how we as a community fill in, build out and grow over the next 20y years? Part of how we develop our housing must be considered through the lens of positive youth development.

Today, 52 percent of Bellingham rents—in single-family homes, duplexes, multiplexes, or accessory dwelling units. About half of those households are cost-burdened with high rents relative to income, all with no end in sight.

There are silver linings in our community.

In 2012, voters passed the Bellingham Home Fund—a critical funding source for building and preserving affordable housing for working families and others with low incomes. The Villa at Sante Fe on Bakerview is just one example of this program. Kulshan Community Land Trust is developing more than 50 new affordable homes on Telegraph Road after finishing several homes with accessory dwelling units in the Birchwood neighborhood.

But we need to do more: Families with housing vouchers shouldn’t be discriminated against based on their source of income. The City should also explore ways of expanding housing choice in all neighborhoods and voters should renew the Bellingham Home Fund so that we can continue to provide safe, stable housing so that every kid has the opportunity for success in school and in life.

Kelly Bashaw was elected to Bellingham School Board in 2007. She is the senior director of the board. Dan Hammill was appointed to Bellingham City Council in 2014 and elected in 2015. He represents the Third Ward. They married in 2012.

Past Columns
Threshold Fund

June 13, 2018

Imprisoned Splendour

May 9, 2018

Pathways to Homeownership

April 25, 2018

Yes on I-1631

April 11, 2018

Divide-and-Conquer

October 11, 2017

Electronic Home Monitoring

September 13, 2017

Events
Today
Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Bellingham Dance Company's Hunchback

7:00pm|Majestic

Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Open Air Summer Rep

7:30pm|Maritime Heritage Park

Chuckanut Writers Conference

9:00am|Whatcom Community College

Wild Things

9:30am|Marine Park

Lummi Stommish Water Festival

10:00am|Lummi Nation

Coffee Tasting

3:00pm|Camber Cafe

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Whatcom Cultural Arts Festival

5:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Fourth Friday Art Walk

5:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Beachside Barbecue

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Beachside Barbecue

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Keys for Kids

5:30pm|Stepping Stones Garden

Beachside Barbecue

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Salmon Dinner Sail

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Little Silver

7:00pm|Blanchard Chapel

Off Broadway

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Musicals and Brawls

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

2018 Cascadia Kids
Tomorrow
Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Bellingham Dance Company's Hunchback

7:00pm|Majestic

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Open Air Summer Rep

7:30pm|Maritime Heritage Park

Chuckanut Writers Conference

9:00am|Whatcom Community College

Lummi Stommish Water Festival

10:00am|Lummi Nation

Whatcom Cultural Arts Festival

5:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Keys for Kids

5:30pm|Stepping Stones Garden

Off Broadway

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Musicals and Brawls

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Plant Hike

8:00am|Hannegan Pass Trail

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Hall

Padden Triathlon

8:30am|Lake Padden Park

March Point Run

9:00am|Andeavor Refinery

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverwalk Park

Twin Sisters Market

9:00am|Nugent's Corner, North Fork Library

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am| Depot Market Square

Welcome to Chickenlandia

10:00am|Blaine Library

Lynden Farmers Market

10:00am|Centennial Park

Lummi Island Saturday Market

10:00am|Islander Grocery Store

How to Renovate an Older Urban Garden

10:00am|Roeder Home

Imagine This! Home & Landscape Tour

10:00am|Whatcom County

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|H Street Plaza

Sumas Writers Group

10:00am|Sumas Library

Inside the green building scene

10:00am

Apps & Snaps for iPhone Gardeners

11:00am|Christianson's Nursery

A Novel Affair with Nancy Pearl

11:30am|Maple Hall

Ice Cream Class for Adults

12:00pm|Lynden Library

Concrete Saturday Market

1:00pm|Concrete Community Center

Lynden Cemetery Tour

1:00pm|Lynden Cemetery

Tuesdays with Morrie

2:00pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Nooksack River Walk

3:00pm|Horseshoe Bend Trailhead

Seafood Boil

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Seafood Boil

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Saturday Seafood Boil

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Chuckanut Writers Conference Open Mics

7:00pm|Village Books Reading Gallery, Evolve Chocolate and Cafe, Lovitt Restaurant, and Magdalena's Creperie

Musical Reunion

7:00pm|YWCA Ballroom

Dudestock

7:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

An Evening with Ira Glass

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Trove Web Village Books
Sunday
Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Bellingham Dance Company's Hunchback

7:00pm|Majestic

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Lummi Stommish Water Festival

10:00am|Lummi Nation

Off Broadway

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Brunch on the Bay

10:00am|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Skagit Symphony Garden Tour

10:00am|Mount Vernon

Junk in Your Trunk

10:00am|North Fork Library

Edison Farmers Market

10:00am|Edison Granary

La Conner Live

1:00pm|Gilkey Square

Women on the Water

1:00pm|Community Boating Center

Audubon at the Museum

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Trivia Time

3:30pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Way North Comedy Triple Header

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Take Me to Church

8:00pm|Rumors Cabaret

see our complete calendar »

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