Endorsed: Bellingham Home Fund
Our Whatcom Chapter asked WCV to endorse the Bellingham Home Fund - the local levy for housing. The 7 year levy will raise about $3 million/year for low income housing development, rental assistance and perpetually affordable home ownership programs.
We recognize that it is a bit unusual for an environmental organization to endorse a housing levy, but there are the reasons why we are doing so:
Smart Growth - The clear trend in Whatcom County is that lower income people often have to settle in Ferndale, Maple Valley or unincorporated areas even though the majority of the jobs are in Bellingham. The "drive till you qualify" approach to providing affordable housing is one of the biggest environmental challenges in the community. 100% of the housing provided will be in Bellingham or the UGA. These funds will also be used to help support smart growth and infill goals.
Green Building - Housing that is built using funds raised by this levy will be subject to Bellingham's resolution requiring the use of the LEED building standards. And most of the funds used will be matched by state Housing Trust Funds which will require the use of the Evergreen Green Building standard (similar to LEED). The development that will as a result of this levy will be done in a way that minimizes the environmental impact and which increases the prevalence in our community of green building standards.