The challenges in the housing world are many, including: ending homelessness, increasing the supply of affordable rental housing, and creating a range of new for-sale housing types that provide an entry to home ownership. These are nationwide issues, but are even more acute in coastal areas surrounded by plentiful natural and cultural amenities. Compounding these problems locally, expanding student enrollment and a growing population have resulted in some of the lowest rental vacancy rates in the State.
Funding and Incentives for New Housing
Housing Equity Assessment
In 2018, the City Council tasked its Planning and Community Development Committee with creating specifications for a Housing Equity Assessment that will document the distribution of housing, services, parks, and economic opportunity within the City of Bellingham.
- Video, December 16, 2019: Housing Equity Assessment Update
- Video, December 9, 2019: Housing Equity Assessment Update
- Video, November 18, 2019: Housing Equity Assessment Update
- Video, October 21, 2019: Housing Equity Assessment Update
- Video, August 19, 2019: Housing Equity Assessment Update
- Video, July 1, 2019: Housing Equity Assessment Update
Protections for Manufactured Home Parks
The City Council has acted to enhance protections of manufactured home parks to help preserve this important form of affordable housing.
- Video, December 14, 2020, Public Hearing to consider amendments to the Bellingham Comprehensive plan (see potential amendment for a comprehensive plan designation and zoning for manufactured home parks).
- Video, December 7, 2020, Public Hearing to Extend the Current Moratorium on Change of Use for Mobile Home Parks
- Video, June 8, 2020, Public Hearing to Extend the Current Moratorium on Change of Use for Mobile Home Parks
- Video, June 3, 2019: Approval of Manufactured Home Park Redevelopment Moratorium (see “Mayor’s Report”)
- Comprehensive Plan Docketing Proposals
Planning Committee Work Sessions on Residential Rental Barriers/Concerns
Many Bellingham community members reside in rental housing. The Council adopted an ordinance to prohibit source of income discrimination in rental housing and to expand notification of rental increases under certain circumstances. The following links include meeting videos and materials (click on specific agenda item to see video display).
- Ordinance 2018-02-004, Protection of Residential Tenants
- Video, February 12, 2018: Council consideration of Ordinance Adopting Protections for Residential Tenants (Committee of the Whole)
- Video, January 22, 2018: Work session on Ordinance Adopting Protections for Residential Tenants (Committee of the Whole)
- Video, December 11, 2017: Work session on Ordinance Adopting Protections for Residential Tenants (Committee of the Whole)
- Video, December 4, 2017: Public Hearing on Ordinance Adopting Protections for Residential Tenants (Regular Meeting)
- Memo, Source of Income Discrimination Ordinances
Planning Committee Work Sessions on Affordable Housing
The Planning Committee is examining proposals to improve the supply of affordable housing in Bellingham and to protect residents from being displaced from their homes. Meeting links and materials are posted below.
- Video, November 6, 2017: History of the Infill Housing Toolkit
- Video, September 25, 2017: Potential approaches for additional housing choice
- Video, September 11, 2017: Zoning history; mobile home displacement concerns
- Video, August 14, 2017: Panel discussion, “Missing Middle” housing
- Video, July 24, 2017: Demographic/housing challenges and school district boundaries
- Addressing Homelessness
- Whatcom County Annual Homeless Census Reports
- Whatcom County Plan to End Homelessness, Phase 4
Other Housing Resources
- Bellingham Housing Statistics
- Housing and Human Services
- 2016 Comprehensive Plan, Housing Chapter
- City of Bellingham Action Plans
- Whatcom County Homeless Strategies Workgroup
- Video, October 26, 2016: Smart Towns President Chuck Marohn on sustainable city planning
Mark Gardner, City Council Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org