June 13, 2016\
Re: Affordable Housing on Bainbridge Island
The Bainbridge Island/North Kitsap Council (IFC), formed in 1997, is an association of 21 local faith congregations (17 of them based on Bainbridge Island) representing many hundreds of persons. This letter expresses the views of individuals who are delegates from our member congregations at IFC’s monthly meetings.
IFC is committed to collaborative efforts to work for the good of our community based on faith-based values that we share. These values are reflected in our Council’s founding and stated purposes, which include the following:
- To assist a greater responsiveness to human need in the institutions, structures and environment in our community;
- To work for dignity, justice and opportunity for all persons.
In furtherance of these values and purposes, we write to express our strong support for actions by the City Council and City agencies that will seek to ameliorate what is a critical and growing shortage of affordable housing and lack of economic diversity in the Bainbridge community.
The needs for more affordable housing on Bainbridge have repeatedly been emphasized by the City and many in the community. In particular, the City’s Comprehensive Plan, as revised in 2004, stated as important goals, continually increasing the supply of housing affordable to households with limited incomes, so as to “encourage more socio-economic diversity,” and “so that more people who work on Bainbridge Island can live here.”
As we understand the facts, these recognized needs have led to very little concrete action. Regarding rental housing, where the shortage is most severe, Housing Resources Bainbridge advises that in the past 10 years no new permanently affordable apartment units for income-restricted families or individuals have been built on Bainbridge. Existing affordable rental facilities have virtually no vacancies and growing waiting lists, such as those of Housing Resources Bainbridge, where average wait time is about 2 years.
As a result, it remains true that large numbers of those who work on Bainbridge – such as those in Island schools, police and fire departments, health care facilities, stores and other businesses — cannot afford to live on the Island but must commute from elsewhere. The shortage also impacts young families who desire but cannot afford to live on the Island, and seniors and others who can no longer afford to remain living in their present homes on Bainbridge but need and want affordable alternatives in their community.
The adequacy of affordable housing also is very important to the fabric of the Bainbridge community. We believe a vibrant, healthy community is one with significant diversity among its residents, in ages, occupations, talents, ethnic backgrounds and economic status. Yet shortage of affordable housing is greatly inhibiting the realization of such diversity on Bainbridge.
In conclusion, we urge that the City actively seek and pursue opportunities to bring about substantial increases in the supply of housing affordable to persons and families with limited incomes. Such actions will help the Bainbridge community be one from which people with varying needs for affordable housing are not fenced out or forced out by economic barriers but instead are welcomed in as residential neighbors, and thus a caring community that is inclusive, diverse and truly responsive to human need.
Thank you for considering our views.
- John Anderson, First Church of Christ Scientist -Bainbridge
- Rick Barrenger, Spiritual Enrichment Center of West Sound
- Jane Callahan, First Church of Christ Scientist – Bainbridge
- Margaret Celestino, Dances of Universal Peace
- Kent Chadwick, Rolling Bay Presbyterian Church
- Joan Collins, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church
- Elizabeth Dequine, Dances of Universal Peace
- Jessica Dubey, Congregation Kol Shalom
- Carol Glenn, Unity of North Kitsap
- Richard Goff, Eagle Harbor Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
- Kathryn Keve, Agate Passage Friends Meeting
- Martha Korslund, St. Cecilia Catholic Church
- Patricia Lahtinern, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Bainbridge Island Ward
- Michael Lisagor, SGI-USA Nichiren Buddhism
- Alice McCain, Bethany Lutheran Church
- John McKenzie, Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church
- Judy McKenzie, Grace Episcopal Church
- Nancy Quitslund, Seabold United Methodist Church
- Reed Price, Eagle Harbor Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
- Sharon Rutzick, Chavurat Shir Hayam
- Pastor Paul Stumme-Diers, Bethany Lutheran Church
- Tiffny Weighall, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Bainbridge Island Ward