Letters to the Editor

HRB salutes work of program coordinator | Letters, Jan. 16

I would like to thank the Bain-bridge Review and Tad Sooter for the excellent article (“Program helps islanders help themselves,” Jan. 3) on our Independent Living program. It is wonderful to see a feature story that shows how our housing programs actually impact real people in very concrete and moving ways. The stories of Mr. Bisson and Mr. Peterson are two of many that could be told about the great work done by Julie Stone as coordinator of the Independent Living program.

Ms. Stone is an example of an employee who goes above and beyond the requirements of her job. With each and every contact made, whether through a third-party referral or a direct contact, Julie throws her heart and soul into solutions that work. Countless hours are spent doing what is needed to assist aging and vulnerable people who are seeking help, even when they don’t technically fall under the program guidelines.

However, there was one phrase in this otherwise great article that I feel needs clarification. The phrase states that the Independent Living program is “a department of the city-funded Housing Resources Board.” This unfortunately implies that the majority of our funding comes from the City of Bainbridge Island, or even that we are somehow officially connected to the city.

HRB is an independent nonprofit that just happens to receive some funding from the city. While it is true that we do get the majority of the funding for this specific program from CoBI, less that 15 percent of our total operational budget comes from the city, either directly or through the Health, Housing and Human Services Council.

While we deeply appreciate the funding CoBI does provide, it is also true that none of the work we do would be possible without the generous donations of island residents who care about their community and want to help their neighbors. Rather than calling HRB “city-funded,” a more accurate description would be to call us “community-funded.” This is in keeping with our mission and our role as stewards of the community’s housing assets.

Again, our thanks to all of those individuals and organizations (including the city), who contribute to HRB’s efforts to keep housing options available for all island residents.

Carl Florea

Executive director

Housing Resources Board

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