According to the article written by Kyi Rel Yea, in Friday’s Nov. 14th, 2014 edition of the Bellingham Herald, the Bellingham City Council has approved the transfer of $1,250,000.00 from the construction and preservation side of affordable housing, to the rental assistance side of affordable housing. The Director of the Affordable Housing Program, David Stalheim sent this letter to Mayor Linville, who then presented the requested transfer to the Council who has approved it.
The City of Bellingham has had an increase in the number of homeless people populating pockets of Bellingham and the public is starting to notice. It’s hard not to. The occasional panhandler seen at a few locations has tripled if not quadrupled over the past decade. The City of Bellingham has a policy not to interfere with panhandlers when they are conducting their business on public property and the fruits of their efforts has been a perceptible increase in the number of homeless and panhandlers (not all panhandlers are homeless) who are flocking to Bellingham.
The next time you are in Bellingham, take a moment to ask the panhandler or the homeless vagrants who are readily visible in Bellingham where they came from, what they’re doing here, and what are their plans to improve their lives? It is always a warm and fuzzy feeling to give freely to people in need, but when those efforts are done with no expectation of restoring them to a state of personal responsibility with the ability to feed, house and care for themselves; how will making people comfortable in their poverty without drug testing and measurable goals for success improve their lives or our neighborhoods and community as a whole?
~ Kris Halterman
Bellingham council shifts money into homeless services, street team
BY KIE RELYEA / The Bellingham Herald / November 14, 2014
BELLINGHAM — A new street outreach team will go to where the homeless are, starting in January, as part of a more intensive effort to reduce the number of homeless people in Bellingham.
Called the Homeless Outreach Team, it’s being made possible because the City Council voted Monday, Nov. 10, to dedicate up to $1.25 million to the effort, which will include additional housing vouchers. The council did so unanimously, with Councilman Terry Bornemann absent.
The money will come from the levy Bellingham voters approved in 2012 to raise nearly $21 million over seven years to help provide for low-income housing. Levy dollars are used to build and preserve homes as well as for rental assistance and supportive services.
To provide money for the new effort, the City Council agreed to shift dollars from building and preservation — $250,000 a year over the next five years to provide for the new services.
That concerned council member Michael Lilliquist, despite assurances that the levy was exceeding its goals on all fronts and that, even with the diversion, more than $8.5 million still would be available for the production of rental housing for the remainder of the levy’s life.
“I don’t particularly like this shift because I think that production is actually the long-term solution,” Lilliquist said. “I’m worried that we’re robbing Peter to pay Paul and I still want to support Peter.”
But, in the end, he decided to support the effort. Continue reading…