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

Sugar Ray
Past Columns
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

Electronic Home Monitoring

September 13, 2017

Events
Today
A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Skagit Birding Adventures

9:00am|Skagit Valley

Literacy Council Seeks Volunteers

10:00am

Makerspace Classes

5:00pm|Bellingham Makerspace

Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

7:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

The Addams Family

7:00pm|Ferndale High School

Shakespeare in Love

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

West Side Story

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Whatcom Falls Park

Wild Things

9:30am|Interurban Trail

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Peace Vigil

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Fourth Friday Art Walk

5:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Bellingham Youth Jazz Band

7:00pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

The Book of Help

7:00pm|Village Books

Always...Patsy Cline

7:00pm|Conway Muse

Salish Sea Early Music Festival

7:30pm|St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Heavy Metal

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall.

Richard III

7:30pm|Phillip Tarro Theater

Cupid's Arrow

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Serial Killers, Episode Four

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

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Tomorrow
A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Skagit Birding Adventures

9:00am|Skagit Valley

Literacy Council Seeks Volunteers

10:00am

The Addams Family

7:00pm|Ferndale High School

Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

7:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

Shakespeare in Love

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

West Side Story

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Always...Patsy Cline

7:00pm|Conway Muse

Cupid's Arrow

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Richard III

7:30pm|Phillip Tarro Theater

Fragrance Lake 50K

6:00am|Larrabee State Park

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #154

Smelt Run

9:00am|La Conner High School

Children's Literature Conference

9:00am|Performing Arts Center

Community Work Party

9:00am|Squalicum Creek

Whatcom Falls 5K

10:00am|Whatcom Falls Park

Assistance League Anniversary Sale

10:00am|Assistance League

Kids Cooking Class

11:00am|Chuckanut Center

Recreation Northwest EXPO

11:00am|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Hearty Party 5K

11:00am|Max Higbee Center'

Wildlife Photography with Andy Porter

11:00am|Padilla Bay Estuarine Research Reserve

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Tax Help Available

12:30pm|First Congregational Church

Wine Tasting with Duckhorn Vineyards

2:00pm|Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants

"Beatlemania/Beatlemedia

2:00pm|Blaine Library

Forestry and Wildlife Panel

2:00pm|Ferndale Library

Waterway Tour

2:00pm| I & J Waterway

Wildfire and Resilience

3:00pm|Deming Library

The Fellowship of Fire

4:00pm|Village Books

Dancer Panel

5:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Visions from Cape Breton and Beyond

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Bayshore Symphony

7:30pm|St. Paul's Episcopal Church

An Evening with Steve Mayo

7:30pm|Lummi Island Library

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Sunday
A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Skagit Birding Adventures

9:00am|Skagit Valley

Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

7:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Bayshore Symphony

7:30pm|St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Rabbit Ride

8:30am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Langar in Lynden

11:00am| Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Drag Brunch, Celebrity Impersonation

11:00am|Rumors Cabaret

History Tour

12:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Seabirds of the Salish Sea

1:00pm|REI

Audubon at the Museum

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

Interfaith Music Festival

3:00pm|First Congregational Church

Art of Jazz

4:00pm|The Majestic

Heavy metal Hollywood

4:00pm

Clover Group Reading

4:00pm|Village Books

see our complete calendar »

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