Realtors back housing measure | Letter

We, the women of T Williams Realty, are writing to express our support for the proposed San Juan County Home Fund that will be on the ballot in November. While not a perfect solution, we believe it’s a step in the right direction to help those in our community most in need of access to housing.

Among the five of us, we’ve:

• Rented an OPAL apartment as a young, single mom returning to the island after growing up here.

• Worked at OPAL and seen the critical service it provides and the ongoing wait-list indicating more housing options are still needed.

• Assisted buyers in purchasing an OPAL home, including foregoing our commission.

• Noticed the sense of relief in our friends once their housing insecurity was solved by owning an OPAL home.

• Fielded calls at our real estate office from those desperate to find housing.

• Seen deplorable living conditions for some tenants, including absence of indoor plumbing.

• Witnessed community members having to move off the island due to lack of affordable housing.

• Received inquiries from new potential hires including law enforcement, paramedics, teachers and lineman whose inability to find affordable housing weighed their acceptance of a job.

• Managed long-term rentals where six of the seven homes have sold over the past 24 months, displacing tenants.

• Made personal contributions to OPAL, and wished we could give more.

Will the home fund solve all our affordable housing problems? No. But it appears to be the best, most equitable and innocuous solution available at this time. We need to start chipping away at an issue that’s currently undermining the community we love. Yes we are realtors, but first and foremost we are residents and neighbors, and we believe it should be possible for working people to afford a safe and healthy home here.

Teri Williams, Sandi Friel, Miramonee Harrington, Mandy Randolph and Beth Holmes

Orcas Island