March 2019 Housing Champion – Tobi McEnerney

What drives your commitment to work for affordable housing?

Having grown up here and watching my peers struggle to find basic shelter in a place that is their home is eye opening. It’s a betrayal of our own. Those of us with resources – be it money, time or knowledge – should be compelled to chip in. I offer some experience in building and I’d love that to be useful to help secure housing for my high school classmates and their children and anyone else who wants to claim Jefferson County as their home.

What is your involvement in housing work in Jefferson County?

I have very recently joined the board of Homeward Bound Community Land Trust as a way to help solve the housing crisis. I am new and still learning but feel tremendously encouraged by the housing trust model as a way to offer safe and secure housing for years to come. I was also a part of a local team that worked to challenge the Washington State Supreme Court ruling that disallows local income tax; if lifted, it could make a dent in creating an income stream for developing middle- to low-income housing.

If you could ask one thing of your community, what would it be?

There is no skill set unneeded in this work. While commercial contractors and architects and land use experts are obviously needed in this quest, so are people who can color code files, paint molding, cook for volunteers, or help wrangle volunteers. Any and all talents can be put to work. 

I always say, “why not us?” about Port Townsend. We are just as qualified to solve social and economic problems as the next city. We can absolutely be a leader in starting to unpack and solve this housing crisis. Together. That’s our talent. That’s where we rise. I’m honored to be a part of it.