I know from my former job with the San Juan Community Home Trust that raising money for affordable housing is difficult. State resources have dwindled and are now just over half of the amount of funds that were available a decade ago. Private donations have made possible the continued development of permanently affordable homes, but progress is slow.
With the tremendous need for housing for working people, families and seniors, the Yes for Homes campaign is now working to pass a local home fund in November. With the unanimous support of the county council, this fund is expected to generate approximately $15 million over a 12-year period with approximately four times this amount in additional funds leveraged.
The fund is flexible and allows for a variety of grant proposals to compete for funds. Proposals can be for rentals or home ownership projects, or to preserve existing affordable housing such as the apartments that are reaching the end of their required affordability.
Our island communities need this fund to make a significant difference on our economy and the social fabric of our islands. It should be possible for people to afford a home and still have money left over for the basics like food, transportation and child care. Local housing trust funds are a proven solution – there are now 790 state and local housing trust funds across the nation.
I’m excited for our county that we have this opportunity and urge you to vote YES for Homes in the upcoming general election!
San Juan Island