In Whatcom County, nearly four in every ten (36+%) of our neighbors are struggling to afford a simple, safe, decent place to call home. The lack of affordable housing has profound economic, educational, and health impacts on people’s lives and on the Whatcom Community.
According to a recent United Way report (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed Report), there are at least 82,000 people in Whatcom County who can barely afford housing. They’re locked out of market-rate housing by rising housing costs and limited access to affordable financing.
This is a crisis.
Recently, the Port of Bellingham’s economic-development team recognized the need to solve the affordable housing problem. Businesses struggle to provide wages higher than the area median income (AMI). Without affordable housing, Bellingham can’t attract new businesses or support existing businesses to grow. And there’s a great danger that without affordable housing for employees, business (and jobs) will leave our community.
The forces blocking affordable housing are intertwined. Rising purchase prices and limited access to financing, coupled with low wages, create the housing crisis we’re all facing now. Everyone is worried. How many times have you heard your friends say “Where will my children live after they complete their education?” “How will they be able to afford to raise families?” “What will happen to the community I love?”
We at Habitat love Whatcom County, and we’re focused on a solution. We’re currently working to develop a market-based approach to supplying more affordable homes. We’ll have more to tell you soon.
And you can become part of the solution. Volunteer, recycle your gently used household items at our Habitat Store, write a check or donate online. Everything helps! Your support of Habitat is crucial as we work to solve the housing crisis in Whatcom County. You can make a difference, and we’re grateful for your support.
Please help us spread the word. Talk with your neighbors. Follow Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County on Facebook and Instagram. Learn more about how we’re helping build a pathway from homelessness to home ownership so that more of our Whatcom neighbors can have affordable, safe, simple, decent places to call home.