Community

Housing Crisis Solutions

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

In Sarah Bond-Yancey’s April 25 column in Cascadia Weekly, she outlined pathways to homeownership, detailing the current housing crisis in our area and across the country.

“The inadequate supply of Whatcom County homes in the $125,000 to $300,000 price range keeps average wage earners in the rental market long past when they should be able to purchase a home,” she wrote, noting that fact paired with the 0.6 percent vacancy rate in area rentals results in a vast gap in the “housing continuum.”

That gap has tangible community impacts including increases in homelessness, negative effects on the environment and local business growth, and disruption to children’s education, to name a few.

There are solutions to this crisis that have been tested and proven. With strong community partnerships and support, the Community Land Trust Model that Kulshan Community Land Trust (Kulshan CLT) has been applying since 1999 could help.

Community Land Trust Model

Kulshan CLT works within the prevailing economic and governing systems to build and help purchase homes—holding the land in trust—to better the common good in our community. That creates opportunities and preserves affordable homeownership. We build homes close to jobs, schools and other services to minimize commutes and other impacts on the community. We also assist and educate people of limited means to become homeowners in existing neighborhoods gracefully.

The Community Land Trust Model ensures that affordable homeownership is preserved for people working and living in our community, and for our children and grandchildren. The model isn’t just a theory, either. In practice, Kulshan CLT homeowners are eight times less likely to experience home foreclosure and its negative impacts.

This model works best when applied through strong community partnerships. Together we grow awareness and create an opportunity for our community to be positive and generous, investing in a society where people take care of each other, so it will always be there.

Community Solutions Through Strong Partnerships

There are no longer low-cost starter homes in our community. To bridge the housing continuum gap, Kulshan CLT has partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Whatcom County and the Whatcom Community Foundation (WCF) to build more than 50 new homes as part of the Telegraph Townhomes project. Breaking ground this summer, the project will provide permanently affordable homes at prices hardworking families can afford. The homes will be priced for people earning 30 to 130 percent of area median income (AMI)—between $125,000 and $300,000—matching home prices with what area jobs pay. Mortgages will be as low as $350 per month and energy bills as low as $25 per month.

We’ve also worked with Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) to establish a new bus stop on site to ensure residents have transportation options and minimal traffic impact. This will help reduce the number of county families who currently drive farther and farther from their job center to find economical housing options.

Telegraph Townhomes are a solution where Whatcom County families currently see roadblocks.

Community Benefits

Together, our efforts bring stability and financial independence to modest-income households. That stability results in deeper, longer-term connections with neighbors and area businesses. A permanent home also means children change schools less often, allowing families to more fully participate in civic engagement and area job centers. That security at home extends beyond the household and neighborhood, and into our communities—creating opportunities to improve social justice, economic vitality and environmental sustainability.

How We Can Work Together

There are many ways to get involved and help Kulshan CLT, Habitat, and WCF create pathways to homeownership that will bridge the growing gap. Together we can build awareness by opening the dialogue. We can volunteer our time and skills with these organizations. We can make a donation or plan to leave a legacy. Every hour of labor and every dollar is a lifetime investment toward sustainable home ownership and community stability long-term.

Learn more and get involved at http://www.kulshanclt.org.

Dean Fearing is executive director of Kulshan Community Land Trust

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

Schools and Planning for Growth

September 27, 2017

Events
Today
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

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Shrek the Musical

7:00pm|Burlington-Edison High School

Treasure Island

7:00pm|Sehome High School Theater

Number the Stars

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

A Christmas Carol

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Crazy for You

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Pacific Arts Market

10:00am| Sunset Square

Toys for Tots

10:00am

Holiday Tea

11:00am|Willowbrook Manor

Valley Made Holiday Market

5:00pm|Maplehurst Farm

Christmas on the Docks

5:00pm|Cap Sante Marina

Wonderland Walk

5:00pm|Washington Park

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

Tarnation and Holiday Games

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Breakfast with Santa

9:00am|Sedro-Woolley Community Center

NSEA Work Party

9:00am

Sumas Book Club

10:00am|Sumas Library

Fairhaven Winterfest

10:00am|Historic Fairhaven

Winter Faire

10:00am|Whatcom Hills Waldorf School

Old-Fashioned Christmas Market

10:00am|Friday Harbor Brickworks

Winter Arts & Crafts Festival

10:00am|Pioneer Park Pavilion

Your Life is a Story Writers Group

10:30am| South Whatcom Library

Award-Winning Book Club

10:30am|Lynden Library

Mastering Wisteria

10:30am|Full Bloom Farm

Snow Geese of Skagit

10:30am|Christianson's Nursery

Saltadena Celebration

11:00am|Saltadena Bakery

Winter Wonderland Gift Gala

11:00am|Carnation Building

Holiday Craft Bazaars

11:30am

Holiday Maker's Market

12:00pm|Terramar Brewing and Distilling

Holiday Tea and Crafts

1:00pm|North Fork Library

Holiday Joy with Fidalgo Youth Symphony

1:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Festive Feasting Reception

1:00pm|Good Earth Pottery

Teen Art Fair

2:00pm|Blaine Library

Big Holiday reds tasting

2:00pm|eifert & Jones Wine Merchants

Shrinking the Worry Monster

2:00pm|Village Books

Birding for Kids

2:30pm

Bowman Bay Holiday

3:00pm|Bowman Bay

A Deep Dive Into Eve Deisher's Psyche

3:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Noel Ensemble

3:00pm|Jansen Art Center

One Meditation

4:00pm| Boulevard Park

The Nativity

6:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Holiday History Hi-Jinks

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Early Railroads of Whatcom County

7:00pm|Village Books

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Center Into Solstice

7:00pm|Cafe Blue

Winter Solstice Concert with SeaMuse

7:30pm|Firehouse Arts and Events Center

The Kelley World Tour

7:30pm|Lummi Island Library

Cidertails with Alexine Langdon

7:30pm|housand Acre Cider House

Heralding Christmas with Skagit Valley Chorale

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

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

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Crazy for You

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Number the Stars

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Pacific Arts Market

10:00am| Sunset Square

Christmas on the Docks

5:00pm|Cap Sante Marina

Valley Made Holiday Market

5:00pm|Maplehurst Farm

Honk! The Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Narnia the Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Winter Wonderland Gift Gala

11:00am|Carnation Building

The Nativity

6:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Heralding Christmas with Skagit Valley Chorale

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Sedro-Woolley Community Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #43

Langar in Lynden

11:00am| Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Celtic Yuletide

3:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Scarlett and Dicey

4:00pm|Village Books

Vaudevillingham

7:00pm|Cirque Lab

Monday
Holiday Pet Food Drive

10:00am|Whatcom County

Giving Tree

9:00am|Village Books

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Whatcom Flute Ensemble

3:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

MVHS Winter Concert

4:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Community Soup Kitchen

6:00pm|Little Cheerful Cafe

Avalanche Awareness with NWAC

6:00pm|REI

Poetrynight

7:00pm|Alternative Library

Guffawingham

9:00pm|Firefly Lounge

see our complete calendar »