To the editor:
The Housing Kitsap financial picture is a sad one and affects affordable housing throughout the county — not just Bainbridge Island.
The history of the emergency began in 2006-7 with a decision to build “high end condos” on the waterfront of Bremerton that fell victim to the crash. Yes, the project was “out of mission,” yes it was unique and a lot of people thought it a good idea at the time — but it was a foolish gamble with precious resources that should have been used to build affordable housing. So today, new management faces a dilemma.
I’ve lived here almost 24 years now and worked for affordable housing in my old hometown of Los Angeles. I served on our city’s Affordable Housing Task Force and am still hoping the council will adopt some of our recommendations.
This Island has a ton of resources — many more that any other city in Kitsap County.
The $2 million figure is not out of line; you sure can’t build anything for $154K a unit these days. Not in this city.
If HRB can’t raise the money then perhaps some other organization dedicated to affordable housing can — I hope our leaders will look for that group. Is there any money in our in-lieu fee fund? Would Housing Kitsap let us pay off the other $500K when we have it? What about asking housing developers to chip in? Commercial developers? Let’s get creative.
My point is this: We need affordable housing ALL over the county — not just on Bainbridge Island.
We need a healthy organization that is focused on countywide affordable housing. Bainbridge needs to get serious about affordable housing as it continues to grant ADU permits without affordability regulations and squeeze people out of the Dave Ulin Open Water Marina.
We need more partners in affordable housing not just one. Again, time to think outside the Bainbridge box.