Affordable housing must be preserved | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

For anyone who has consumed any news in recent months, it will come as no surprise that Bainbridge Island, along with the rest of our county and region, is facing an extreme housing crisis.

On Bainbridge Island, the median home price is well over $800,000, and rent for even the smallest units starts around $1500 and escalates quickly. The effect of these rising costs is not good for anyone who lives here. It is certainly not good for those who cannot afford high rents and home prices, and are forced to leave Bainbridge Island, pulling their children from school, enduring longer commutes, and losing their community and support system.

But it isn’t good for the rest of us either. A healthy vibrant community is one that is diverse, and composed of folks of all income levels and from all walks of life. When those who want and need to live here cannot afford to do so, the whole community loses.

Last week, Housing Kitsap put on the market for sale a small 13-unit apartment complex on Madison Avenue. This complex has been a part of their affordable housing portfolio for many years, serving households with low incomes. Housing Resources Bainbridge has made an offer to purchase this complex. HRB’s mission is to preserve the diversity and vitality of Bainbridge Island by providing and maintaining affordable housing opportunities in the community.

Should Housing Kitsap accept our offer, these units will remain affordable for the community in perpetuity. If these units are sold to another buyer, they will almost certainly disappear from the portfolio of affordable units on Bainbridge Island, further eroding what is already a chronic shortage of affordable rental units.

We encourage the Board of Commissioners of Housing Kitsap (www.housingkitsap.org/about-us) to act in accordance with its mission (which is the same in spirit and intent as HRB’s) and accept our offer for this property. We hope the citizens of Bainbridge Island and Kitsap County will also encourage the elected officials on the Board as well. As a community, we must work to create more housing that is affordable to those of lower income levels and we absolutely must preserve the housing we already have.

PHEDRA ELLIOTT

Executive Director

Housing Resources Bainbridge

LINDA LINCOLN

Chair, Board of Directors

Housing Resources Bainbridge

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