Housing insecurity in Jefferson County was already at crisis levels before the pandemic hit. We now face the high probability of even more people in our local workforce becoming housing insecure and moving away. As increasing numbers of remote workers relocate to Jefferson County, housing prices are rising far beyond the reach of the essential workers who keep our local economy functioning – grocery store clerks, teachers, nurses, trades-people, service workers, and more. Emergency housing providers are reporting an unprecedented demand of their services and are struggling to direct their clients to permanent housing options, leaving many in chronic ‘temporary’ housing services or without any shelter at all. Fears are rising about the potential for an additional wave of people to lose their housing when the eviction moratorium eventually lifts. Our community needs an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to affordable housing to meet the immense needs of this moment.
Housing Solutions Network (HSN) provides a response to this need through educating community members about the crisis and empowering individuals and collectives to create new solutions. Through facilitating people to people connections, distributing broad communications, and supporting our Housing Action Teams, HSN is raising the overall level of action for affordable housing in Jefferson County and building a team of champions for this critical issue. We help individuals recognize how they can make a real and immediate impact on housing in the short term, while connecting with nonprofit housing providers and government bodies to work toward long-term solutions.
Since HSN’s founding in 2018, we have achieved many goals and increased our ability to offer impactful solutions.
Our Housing Action Teams’ accomplishments include:
- Production and distribution of the Cultivating Community Solutions to the Housing Crisis video.
- Presentation of a policy proposal for increasing affordable density in Port Townsend.
- Educational and values based live presentation and video on how to rent out spaces that are currently vacant.
- Facilitation of a community survey on local permitting process, crafting of a report based on findings, and working with local government toward improvements.
- Collaboration with local nonprofits to educate community members about the Washington eviction moratorium.
- Production of a webinar series about tiny home communities.
- Incubation and support of the Community Build Project, which successfully built 12 tiny shelters for seniors experiencing homelessness.
View our 2020 Accomplishments presentation for a deeper picture of community engagement with these projects.
HSN’s other accomplishments are varied, and include:
- Creation and distribution of the Housing Declaration & Community Call to Action.
- Sharing of information about a local 1/10th of 1% sales tax for affordable housing, which the County Commissioners passed unanimously after it received overwhelming community support. This will raise an estimated $600,000 annually to build affordable housing, and can be used to leverage additional state and federal funds.
- Collection and distribution of COVID-19 housing-related resources.
- Informative and original newsletters that reach over 1,000 community members.
- Sharing timely and thoughtful columns to the Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader.
We have heard many anecdotal stories about how our work is resulting in new units of housing, including this story from one of our Housing Action Team members:
“After our meeting today I ran into a friend who I had passed our video on to. The video made such an impression on her that she approached a friend who had an empty ADU and doesn’t live here full time. My friend passed on the video to this person and talked to her about the housing crisis. This person just rented out her ADU because of the information supplied by HSN and the fact that the City now allows you to rent an ADU when you are not a full-time resident in your house.– Outreach Housing Action Team Member
This is just one of what I am guessing are many other such stories.“
How do I donate?
To donate by credit card, click here. Our donation page administered by the Jefferson Community Foundation will allow you to make a one time donation or to set up a recurring monthly, quarterly, or annual donation.
Or, send a check to:
Housing Solutions Network
P.O. Box 1394
Port Hadlock, WA 98339
Be sure to include your name, address, phone number, and email so we can thank you and keep you updated on the impact your donation is having in the community.
To learn more, contact HSN Director Justine Gonzalez-Berg at firstname.lastname@example.org
Testimonial from gift giver Judy Alexander
Having seen so many changes in our community over the past 40 years, I see the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic as potentially grave trouble for our collective ability to sustain what we know, value, and love about our community life. I encourage anyone who is willing to send what support they can to the Housing Solutions Network efforts for 2020 and beyond, and to do so soon.
Having been an active volunteer within the Housing Solutions Network’s Outreach Action Team for almost a year now, I have found my appreciation for the seriousness of our local affordable housing crisis now occupies a central spot among my plethora of concerns about the long term sustainability of our community. I know, first hand, that maintaining an “age and income diverse” component of our seriously aging community will be critically important going forward, especially as baby boomers enter the last years of our lives. All ages of folks want to live here, but it has become increasingly difficult for younger people (farmers, employees of our service and tourism businesses, and community workforce folks like police, nurses, doctors, teachers, etc.) to find long-term affordable housing that allows them to work here and stay here. This is deeply troubling to me, and brings the consequences of income disparity into crystal clarity. While I am not a wealthy person, I do feel grateful and fortunate to live and work here in Jefferson County. So, when I heard the $1200 federal stimulus checks were being issued, I knew I could give that money on behalf of our community recovery, and knew immediately where I wanted it to go…. It has become the first $1000 contribution to the Housing Solution Network’s next year of committed support for engaging community solutions to housing issues. HSN’s leadership and community engagement can increase our affordable local housing options, while creating the resources and support going forward that will make possible the age diversity that will keep this the vibrantly connected community that it has come to be.