The City of Bellingham is a beautiful place to live, work and play. I am proud of the accomplishments of our City through tough economic times. However, there has been a rise in homelessness across Washington State in recent years and our city has experienced that rise as well. We need safe spaces for all of the people in Bellingham.
I believe that this state-wide problem requires state-wide solutions, and to that end I have asked Governor Inslee to declare a state of emergency around this issue. I have also supported Senator Sharon Nelson's proposed bill allocating significant state funds to address homelessness and ensure that all communities have the tools and resources needed to provide shelter.
Locally, I convened a Community Solutions Workgroup that brought together social service agencies, business owners, residents, the Whatcom County Health Department, the Bellingham Police Department, City staff and the Liquor Control Board. As a group, we prioritized a list of recommendations in 2014 and since then the vast majority of those recommendations have been implemented or are funded and underway.
The City has partnered with social service agencies to deliver services such as the Homeless Outreach Team, the Homeless Service Center and supportive housing. Bellingham has also enacted a Housing Levy with the goal of providing, producing and preserving affordable housing across our city. We are meeting or exceeding many of our Housing Levy goals and I am encouraged by the success of these programs.
These are just a few examples of the great work our City employees and community partners are doing to help address this pressing issue. If you have ideas or would like more information, please contact my office at www.cob. org/gov/mayor/
To read the entire issue of “Inside Bellingham”, click on the PDF link here: Inside Bellingham Spring Summer 2016