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
Saying Goodbye

December 11, 2019

Cold and Alone

December 4, 2019

Big Money Politics

November 13, 2019

A Win for the Birds

July 24, 2019

Road to ‘Nowhere’

June 26, 2019

Game Changes

April 24, 2019

Salish Sea Science

January 23, 2019

Cherry Point Amendments

January 16, 2019

Invest in the Future

September 26, 2018

A Desperate Call

August 29, 2018

Criminalizing Protest

July 18, 2018

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

Events
Today
Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Bellingham Public Market

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Holiday Pet Food Drive

10:00am|Whatcom County

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Coffee Brewing Class

2:00pm|Camber Coffee

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Splitboard 101

6:00pm|REI

Sparkling Wines

6:30pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Celtic Christmas Concert

6:30pm|Anacortes Transit Shed Events Center

Marina Albero Trio

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

O Christmas Tea

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Tomorrow
Holiday Pet Food Drive

10:00am|Whatcom County

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Giving Tree

9:00am|Village Books

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am

Holiday Favorites

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

The Naughty List Market and Cabaret

2:00pm|Broadway Hall

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Songs of Peace with Kulshan Youth Choir

5:30pm|First Congregational Church

Bellwether Premiere Wine Social

5:30pm|Lighthouse Grill

Holiday Party

6:00pm|Camber Coffee

DSA Movie Night

6:00pm|Academic West

Winter Pop-Up with Taylor Shellfish

6:00pm|Aslan Depot

Peaceful Poetry Reading

6:30pm|Village Books

Shrek the Musical

7:00pm|Burlington-Edison High School

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Storm Music Extravaganza

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Treasure Island

7:00pm|Sehome High School Theater

Peace, Love, and Ukuleles

7:00pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Avalanche Awareness

7:00pm|Backcountry Essentials

History Holiday

7:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Crazy for You

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Number the Stars

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

A Christmas Carol

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Friday
Holiday Pet Food Drive

10:00am|Whatcom County

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Giving Tree

9:00am|Village Books

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am

The Naughty List Market and Cabaret

2:00pm|Broadway Hall

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Treasure Island

7:00pm|Sehome High School Theater

Shrek the Musical

7:00pm|Burlington-Edison High School

Crazy for You

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

A Christmas Carol

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Number the Stars

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Connelly Creek Nature Area

Toys for Tots

10:00am

Pacific Arts Market

10:00am| Sunset Square

Holiday Tea

11:00am|Willowbrook Manor

Holiday Craft Bazaar

3:30pm|Lynden Library

Drayton Harbor Shellebration

4:00pm|G Street Plaza

Gingerbread House Making

4:30pm|Ferndale Library

Christmas on the Docks

5:00pm|Cap Sante Marina

Photos and Stories with James K. Papp

5:00pm|Gallery Pegasus

Wonderland Walk

5:00pm|Washington Park

Valley Made Holiday Market

5:00pm|Maplehurst Farm

Kids Night Out @ Western

6:00pm|Western Washington University

Lost Feast

7:00pm|Village Books

Honk! The Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Darkness and Light

7:30pm|St. James Presbyterian Church

Narnia the Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Christmastime is Here with Skagit Symphony

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Tarnation and Holiday Games

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

see our complete calendar »