Sarah Goodin

HAPPY VALLEY

“We support the Home Fund because safe, affordable housing is the first step to creating a more just community."

Josefina Vazquez Ramirez

VILLA SANTA FE, CORDATA

“I struggled with homelessness—now my kids and my husband and I have a safe and affordable place to call home. There are other families going through the same situation, which is why I support the Bellingham Home Fund.”

Katherine Victoriano

ELEANOR APARTMENTS, YORK

“Many seniors struggle with housing and aging with dignity. Bellingham’s Home Fund has provided me with a safe place I can afford on a fixed income.”

Everyone needs a safe, healthy, and affordable home. But today’s housing costs are pushing seniors, veterans, and working families out of Bellingham—or into homelessness.

The Bellingham Home Fund is building and preserving 700 affordable homes for families. We’ve helped over 5,000 of our neighbors with emergency rent assistance and housing support to prevent homelessness.

Help Bellingham build on this program’s success! Renew the Bellingham Home Fund, Prop 2018-5, to continue our community’s efforts to address our local housing challenge.

about 

The Bellingham Home Fund: 
A Track Record of Making a Difference

In 2012, voters approved the Bellingham Home Fund. We’re building and preserving 

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for Bellingham families and we’ve provided emergency rent assistance and support to keep them from losing their homes to over  

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With your vote, the renewed Bellingham Home Fund will:

Produce and preserve at least 500 additional affordable homes

Expand rent assistance for seniors and families at risk of eviction to prevent homelessness

Provide supportive homes for our neighbors who were homeless or who live with a chronic health issue or disability

Helping Kids, Families, Seniors and the Most Vulnerable

Over 500 Bellingham School District students experienced homelessness last year. Children who move frequently are far more likely to be in poor health and at risk of developmental delays. That’s unacceptable.

The Bellingham Home Fund dedicates significant resources to providing vulnerable children with the safe, stable homes they deserve. It will also create affordable homes for seniors and our neighbors with disabilities to live with dignity and independence.

 

A Modest Cost & Smart Investment

This renewal is designed to continue the programs overwhelmingly approved by Bellingham voters in 2012. For the owner of a $300,000 property, it’s $9/ month.

The Bellingham Home Fund is a smart investment, thanks to the ability to leverage funds. For every $1 from the Home Fund, the community brings in $8 from state/federal sources, boosting our investment in a safe and affordable community. 

Note: The Bellingham Home Fund is listed as Proposition 2018-5 Low-Income Housing Levy on the ballot. 

faq

Overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2012, the Bellingham Home Fund is a levy that produces and preserves affordable homes for seniors with low incomes, veterans, people with disabilities, and working families. Bellingham Home Fund funding is used within the city for new construction of affordable housing or for preservation of existing buildings. 

Bellingham citizens and housing advocates came together to spearhead the first Bellingham Home Fund unified by the following principles:

  • Everyone should have the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home.
  • Working families, veterans, seniors, and people with disabilities ought to be able to afford a home and still have money for the basics like groceries, gas and child care.
  • Children’s success in school and in life begins when families can afford a stable, decent place to live.
  • It’s better for society and the environment if people can afford to live close to where they work.

After a grassroots campaign, voters resoundingly said YES to the Bellingham Home Fund, passing it with strong 57% majority vote. The levy has a tax of thirty-six cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value, generating $21 million over 7 years for the Bellingham Home Fund.

Since 2012, every dollar of local Bellingham Home Fund investment has been matched by eight dollars of private, state and federal funds. We’re building and preserving 700 affordable homes. We’ve helped 5,000 of our neighbors with emergency rent assistance and housing support to prevent homelessness. We now have the opportunity to keep delivering on that record of success.

Now, more than ever, we need to provide a stable future for Bellingham’s seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and working families.

The Bellingham Home Fund focuses on helping our seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and working families. Two-thirds of the funding would assist very low-income households, and the remaining third would assist low-income households. A family of two earning less than $30,450 annually is very low-income (below 50% area median income), and a family of two earning less than $48,750 is low-income (below 80% area median income).

As a community, we are all impacted when members of our community are struggling. When more of our neighbors have the stability of a safe and affordable home, we all benefit.

The Bellingham Home Fund helps stabilize members of our community in a variety of ways – whether it’s building new permanently affordable homes, preventing homelessness through emergency rental assistance, assisting with shelters for victims of domestic violence, or helping low-income homebuyers create permanently affordable homes.  See the chart below for the proposed 2018 Bellingham Home Fund renewal investments:

 

This renewal is designed to continue the programs overwhelmingly approved by Bellingham voters in 2012. For the owner of a $300,000 property, it’s $9/ month.

The renewal continues the same levy rate passed by voters in 2012, 36-cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. If your property value has increased since 2012, you will pay a modest amount more. Since the tax base has increased since 2012, the levy’s cap will now collect $4 million per year, instead of $3 million, over a 10-year period. 

And thanks to the ability to leverage funds, for $1 from the Home Fund, the community brings in an additional $8 from private, state and federal sources, maximizing voters’ investments in safe and affordable communities.

The primary leveraging sources are the Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Washington State Housing Trust Fund.

(This is in response to a question about the Bellingham Home Fund’s ability to leverage funds: for every $1 from the Home Fund, the community brings in an additional $8 from private, state and federal sources.)

Yes, the 2012 Bellingham Home Fund has exceeded goals set for it by voters. This has largely been due to diligent use of funds and increased leveraging capacity. 

The performance graphs below come from the most recent performance report, the city’s 2017 Consolidated Annual Performance Evaluation Report.

Units committed means total units (projects underway + finished).


The Production and Preservation Program provides:

  • Homes for local workers, working families up to 60% of median income
  • Affordable and specialized homes for veterans, people with disabilities, and seniors.
  • Homes for people working at minimum wage, veterans, seniors on fixed incomes, and people exiting homelessness (households at or below 30% of median income)
  • Rehabilitation and weatherization to increase affordability and preserve existing affordable homes

The Rent Assistance and Supportive Services program provides:

  • Supportive services matched to specialized homes for disabled veterans and homeless individuals to help them retain their homes and reduce costly care in hospital emergency department and other inappropriate systems of care
  • Temporary and long-term assistance to families and individuals to help preserve their housing, prevent eviction and homelessness (targeted households at or below 50% of median income)
  • Temporary and long-term assistance to those experiencing homelessness, including emergency shelter options


The Homebuyer Program provides assistance to low-income homebuyers, including programs that promote long-term affordability of ownership housing (targeted to households at or below 80% of median income). This helps more working families put down roots in our community. 

By renewing the Bellingham Home Fund, we can build on this success! 

View the 2017 Consolidated Action Plan Evaluation Report. 

The Bellingham Home Fund is invested in affordable rental housing production, preservation of existing affordable homes, rental assistance and supportive services to prevent homelessness, homebuyer assistance for low-income working families, and acquisition of land for affordable homes. The graph below outlines the 2012 Bellingham Home Fund spending allocations: 

For more information on the 2012 Bellingham Home Fund, you can view the Administrative and Financial Plan here

You can also find a recent spreadsheet of projects and funds awarded and leveraged here. 

For the 2018 Bellingham Home Fund Renewal, a draft Administrative and Financial Plan can be viewed here. (More information on this in the ‘Who oversees these investments?’ question below. The proposed investments are as follows:

To see some of the projects and homes specifically, please check out the next question below.

View the 2017 Consolidated Action Plan Evaluation Report. 

The Bellingham Home Fund is building and preserving over 700 homes affordable for Bellingham families. This accomplishment has surpassed the goal of 417 units set by the voters in 2012. Of the 721 units under contract, 514 units have been completed.

You can view a presentation here of major Bellingham Home Fund projects.

Here are just a few of the projects we’ve been able to build as a community:

Eleanor Apartments

Mercy Housing
Bellingham Home Fund Invested: $1,657,911 
Federal/State/Private Funds Leveraged: $20,129,974

Eleanor Apartments is an affordable senior housing community located in Downtown Bellingham on the edge of the York historic residential neighborhood. Opened September 2017, Eleanor Apartments offers 80 energy-efficient apartments with one bedroom and one bath that are affordable to seniors.  The community meets Evergreen Sustainability standards and includes an on-site rain garden for stormwater retention, photo voltaic solar panels, triple pane windows and enhanced insulation.

A partnership with PeaceHealth provides health and wellness services on-site.

Telegraph Road Townhomes

Kulshan Community Land Trust and Habitat for Humanity
Bellingham Home Fund Invested: $TBD 
Federal/State/Private Funds Leveraged: $TBD

  • 54 homes that hard working families can afford to buy
  • Construction just began in Summer 2018. 
  • Built to Habitat Passive expectations but customized for long-term maintenance affordability
  • New bus stop directly in front of the property, allowing easy and eco-friendly access to Bellingham’s major commercial centers, social services, healthcare, education and more
  • Community Garden to promote healthy foods and neighborhood
  • Future connection to Bellingham Park’s Trail system to promote physical activity and healthy families

Francis Place

Catholic Community Services and Catholic Housing Services
Bellingham Home Fund Invested: $362,500
Federal/State/Private Funds Leveraged: $9,000,572

Francis Place is a Permanent Supportive Housing project designed and operated by Catholic Community Services and Catholic Housing Services.  Francis Place provides a total of 42 units of affordable housing to adults and veterans that have experienced chronic homelessness.  Residents benefit from 24/7 supportive services, therapeutic programming and ongoing case management. Francis Place represents what can be accomplished when a community is committed to honoring the dignity of each community member.

Villa Santa Fe

Catholic Housing Services
Bellingham Home Fund Invested: $1,553,737
Federal/State/Private Funds Leveraged: $10,792,578

Villa Santa Fe, apartments in Bellingham for low-income farmworkers. The 50-unit building is part of CCS’ Farmworker Housing Initiative, which seeks to provide stable housing, social services and community development to farmworkers and their families.

Villa Santa Fe offers affordable two- and three-bedroom apartments and services that include a youth homework club and workshops with agencies like Goodwill. Prospective residents must make at least $3,000 from agricultural work.

Farmworkers “are a crucial workforce that feeds the country,” but they typically earn less than 30 percent of the median income, according to Gloria Burton, director and developer of the Farmworker Housing Initiative. “This population values families, and they are grateful for decent, safe housing in which to raise their children,” she added.

22 North

Northwest Youth Services and the Opportunity Council
Bellingham Home Fund Invested: $408,383
Federal/State/Private Funds Leveraged: $10,948,299

22 North will offer 40 studios for chronically homeless young adults (18- 24), veterans and older adults with disabilities. It’s a housing-first model with 24/7 on-site services. There will also be a community room for social activities/events. The building is under construction and will open later in 2018. 

Bell Tower

Lydia Place
Bellingham Home Fund Invested: $336,000
Federal/State/Private Funds Leveraged: $444,180

Bell Tower, a former church in the York Neighborhood, was acquired by Lydia Place in September of 2016, and now houses a permanent supportive housing program and residence for homeless families with very young children.

The remodel of the bedrooms, and the addition of the activity room, is providing five mothers with a safe, secure place to call home and bond with their children in the crucial early stages of their development.  Bedrooms are available for “adoption” as a way to help defer costs of furnishing each space, and bring a true sense of community connectivity, and home into the program.

 

And we’ve done so much more.
Check out the Complete Project List.

Updated as of August 2018. (Click the table to expand.)


You can also view this spreadsheet of projects and funds awarded and leveraged here. 

The Bellingham Home Fund is invested according to an Administrative and Financal Plan (A & F Plan) that includes the funding plan for the levy and policies governing administration of each levy program.

The Levy A & F Plan must be approved by City Council, with such modifications as the City Council may require. The A & F Plan is developed by Community Development Advisory Board with input and assistance of working groups that include housing provider representatives, people most impacted by the housing crisis, the Bellingham Housing Authority, business groups, groups addressing homelessness and other human service issues, and other interested community members. The Community Development Advisory Board reviews the draft and makes recommendations to the Mayor and City Council.

The latest draft of the A & F Plan can be found here. 

As people who care deeply about housing, we are concerned about the effect property taxes (levies) have on low-income homeowners. That is part of the reason this renewal is proposed to renew at the same levy rate, 36 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation as in 2012, rather than increase the levy rate. 

The fact is that there are a number of property tax relief exemption and deferral programs that assist low-income and vulnerable homeowners. Our local County Assessor’s office has information on the tax relief and exemption programs here:
https://www.whatcomcounty.us/297/Property-Tax-Relief-Exemptions

There is a statewide property tax exemption for senior citizens and people with disabilities: https://dor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/legacy/Docs/Pubs/Prop_Tax/seniorexempt.pdf

There is a statewide deferral program for low-income homeowners described here:
https://dor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/legacy/Docs/pubs/prop_tax/limitedincomedef.pdf

We will do our best to answer your question!

You can reach out to us at BellinghamHomeFund@gmail.com 

On your November ballot, the Bellingham Home Fund is listed as:
Proposition 2018-5 : Low-Income Housing Levy  

our campaign

Greg Winter

Opportunity Council

Elizabeth Jennings

Housing Advocate

Michael Shepard

Port Commissioner

Gene Knutson

Bellingham City Council

Jenn Mason

Bellingham School Board 

Wesley Robinson

Northwest Youth Services Board

Mary Kay Robinson

Whatcom County Association of Realtors

Barry Buchanan

Whatcom County Council

Todd Donovan

Whatcom County Council

Dan Hammill

Bellingham City Council

Janet Marino

Environmental Leader, Housing Advocate

Paul Schissler

Betsy Pernotto
Galen Herz

Heather Flaherty

Dan Dunne

Chris Philips

Michael Chiavario

Donna Gibbs

Riannon Bardsley
Kayla Schott-Bresler
Michael Peñuelas
Jenny Weinstein

endorsements

organizations

 

2roofs Real Estate

Amerigroup Washington

Aslan Brewing Co.

Bellingham Alternative Library

Bellingham Food Bank

Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce

Bellingham Tenants Union

Black Drop Coffee House

Building Industry Association of Whatcom County (BIAWC)

Cascadia Weekly

Catholic Community Services

Catholic Housing Services

Chuckanut Health Foundation

Chuckanut Builders

Common Threads Farm

Community Food Co-op

Community Health Plan of Washington

Dawson Construction

Homeless Voice

Homeskillet

HomesNOW! Not Later

IAFF Local 106 – Bellingham / Whatcom County Professional Fire Fighters

Indivisible Bellingham

Kulshan Community Land Trust

League of Women Voters

Localgroup Studio

Lummi Indian Business Council

Lydia Place

Maniac Coffee Roasting

Max Higbee Center

Mercy Housing Northwest

Northwest Washington Central Labor Council

Northwest Youth Services

Old Town Cafe

Open Neighbors Bellingham

Opportunity Council

Paul Schissler Associates

PeaceHealth St. Joesph Medical Center

Public School Employees of Western Washington University

Rental Housing Association

Riveters Collective

RMC Architects

SeaMar Community Health Center

Sustainable Connections

TC Legend Homes

United Faculty of Western Washington 

United Healthcare

Unity Care Northwest

Walk Bike Bus Bellingham

Washington Housing Alliance Action Fund (WHAAF)

Washington Community Action Network

Washington Conservation Voters

Washington Environmental Council

Whatcom Community Foundation

Whatcom County Association of REALTORS

42nd Legislative District Democrats

Whatcom Democrats

Whatcom DSA

Whatcom Housing Alliance

Whatcom Human Rights Task Force

Whatcom Peace and Justice Center

Young Democrats of Whatcom County

Young Democrats of WWU

community members

Kryss-Anne Adams
Makela Alem
Judith Atkins
Frances Badgett
Kelly Bashaw
Riannon Bardsley
April Barker
Mary Bartolo
Ann Beck
Sharon Benton
Anna Berch-Norton
Stoney Bird
Carrie Blackwood
Kathy Boerste
Brian Bogart
Justin Boneau
Teri Bryant
Barry Buchanan
Daton Cabrera
Jeremy Carroll
Abie Castillo
Janice Catrell
Josh Cerretti
Catherine Chambers
Dan Chard
Michael Chiavario
Malora Christensen
Steve Clark
Steve Clarke
Teal Coyote
Rosie Crow
Hill Cummings
Chiara D’Angelo
Chris D’Onofrio
Conner Darlington
Karlee Deatherage
Amy Devaney
Claire Devine
Todd Donovan
Andi Douglass
Joy Dunne
Dan Dunne
Andrew Eckels
James Erb
Kevin Ernest
Mike Estes
Brian Estes
Heather Eweing
Jean Farina
Dean Fearing
Arlene Feld
Heather Flaherty
Seth Fleetwood
David Frankel
Paul Frazey
Peter Frazier
Carmen Gilmore
Stephen Gockley
Katarina Gombocz
Sarah Goodin
Susan Gribbin
Esther Hackman
Daniel Hammill
Carole Hammond
Clifford Hare
John Harmon
Elizabeth Hartsoch
Kristina Heintz
Bill Henkel
Galen Herz
Natasha Hessami
Elaine Hornal
Andy Ingram
Abe Jacobsen
Joe Jeffrey
Mark Jenkins
Elizabeth Jennings
Cameron Jennings
Rebecca Johnson
Chris Johnson
Barbara Johnson
Bruce Johnson
Sage Jones
Helen Jones
Chris Jowell
Ingrid Judson
Therese Kelliher
Gene Knutson
Chris Koch
Shelby Kreminich
Clark Krusemark
Kat Latet
Rose Lathrop
Alex LaValle
Jennie Lebowitz
Barbara Lewis
Michael Lilliquist
Kelli Linville
Erica Littlewood
Derek Long
James Loucky
Rifka MacDonald
Jill MacIntyre Witt
Amari Magdalena
Jessica Majerus
Seth Mangold
Janet Marino
Bob Marshall
Victoria Matey
Iris Maute-Gibson
Beverly Mayhew
Kat McAvoy
April McCabe
Neil McCarthy
Mike McCauly
Natalie McClendon
Alan McConchie
Ian McCurdy
Marissa McGrath
Theresa Meurs
Christine Meyer
Neah Monteiro
Jennifer Moon
John Moon
Ed Moran
Kathleen Morton
Rachel Munroe
Rev. Meredith Ann Murray
Astrid Newell
Emily O’Connor
Mark O’Deady
Andrew Oommen
Giovanna Orechhio
Pennydoe Orsborn
Kelly Owen
Mike Parker
Misty Parker
Michael Penuelas
Ignacio Perez
Betsy Pernotto
Chris Phillips
Ellie Posel
Frances Posel
Kurt Price
Danielle Purdy
Alex Ramel
Alden Ramel
Andrew Reding
Dan Reese
Connie Reitzug
Will Rice
Sherry Riesenberg
Rogelio Riojas
Katie Rismondo
Wes Robinson
Krista Rome
Grace Rowee
Bill Rumpf
Amy Rydel
Ario Salazar
Herminia Sanchez
Felixia Santana
Kay Sardo
Eowyn Savela
Paul Schissler
Kayla Schott-Bresler
Roger Schuettke
Michael Shepard
Becca Shew
Sharon Shewmake
Des Skubi
Erin Smith
Adrienne Solenberger
Doug Starcher
Hadriann Starr
Heather Steele
Colin Steele
Carla Stellwagen
Chanan Suarez
Brian Thane
Eddy Ury
Rob Van Tassell
Ken Van Winkle
Terese VanAssche
Katherine Victoriano
Tara Villalba
Rob Volkommer
Leah Wainman
Liisa Wale
David Weasley
Jenny Weinstein
Lovestruck Wheeland
John Whitmer
Sue Willis
Greg Winter
Christina Woeck

elected officials

Kelli Linville

Mayor

Terry Bornemann

City Council Member

Dan Hammill

City Council Member

Gene Knutson

City Council Member

Pinky Vargas

City Council Member

April Barker

City Council Member

Michael Lilliquist

City Council Member

Hannah Stone

City Council Member

Barry Buchanan

Whatcom County Council Member

Todd Donovan

Whatcom County Council Member

Satpal Sidhu

Whatcom County Council Member

Michael Shepard

Port of Bellingham Commissioner

Kelly Bashaw

Bellingham Public Schools Board President

Jenn Mason

Bellingham Public Schools Board Director

ENDORSE / volunteer

 

Yes. I will volunteer to help Bellingham Home Fund.

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