Letters to the Editor

More doors opened to our community | Letters | Jan. 20

“The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.”

This quote resonates with me. I believe it’s true of individuals but also of entire communities.

By providing housing people can afford, HRB has literally opened doors to folks who would otherwise not be able to be part of our community. Our actions have helped give our community depth, diversity and resources beyond measure.

How do you put a value on the impact of keeping a beloved family in our community?

Or welcoming a household from a different culture or life experience that wants to live on Bainbridge and share that experience with us? Multiply that by all the families we’ve helped, and it’s immeasurable.

This week we bid farewell to Ken Balizer, our past executive director, who will be moving back to his home and family in New Mexico.

We are grateful to Ken, who, like others before him, has helped HRB open new and exciting doors that will define the future of our community  His impact on Ferncliff Village was especially significant.

Ferncliff Village is the first homeownership development on a community land trust in Kitsap County and will provide homes for 24 families who might not otherwise be able to purchase a home. This project contains sustainable benefits on so many levels. Because the land is held by HRB in trust, the homes will always be a resource for affordable home ownership in the future.

The development is also being built under the City of Bainbridge Island Housing Design Demonstration Project and as such meets high standards for green construction.

The homes are priced (on average) approximately $60,000 under market value, and even better, with available subsidies a family earning as little as $30,000 may be able to qualify to buy one of these homes.

As the door on Ken’s tenure at HRB closes, a new door is opening with the arrival of our new executive director Mark Blatter.

Mark has already begun to organize one of HRB’s most significant events – the celebration of the completion of the first homes at Ferncliff Village. With Ken’s help, the first four new homes at Ferncliff Village are nearly complete.

Now, with new leadership we will build 20 more.

Wendy Johnson, HRB community outreach

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