Increasing Affordable Housing for Essential Workers
Housing insecurity in Jefferson County was already at crisis levels before the pandemic hit. Since then, over 4,000 people here have filed for unemployment and are experiencing a sudden loss of income. We now face the high probability of even more people in our local workforce becoming housing insecure and moving away.
Due to our geographic location, our community must compete to maintain a strong workforce. And yet, because of the pandemic, we can see a scenario in which the rents here remain high and the few rentals that become available are taken by telecommuters leaving Seattle for more space. This would leave many of the very people who are pulling us through these challenging times – our nurses, grocery store clerks, farmers, and school teachers – with dwindling choices.
Now is not the time to lose momentum on the effort to increase affordable housing. To continue this work, the Housing Solutions Network needs your support. Our primary sources of support in the past have, understandably, chosen to dedicate their funding to immediate COVID response efforts. This has left HSN in a position where we might have to close the doors. Please help us keep that from happening!
What is a Giving Circle?
Giving Circles are groups of citizens who pool their money for a common cause to make a powerful investment in their community. Many Giving Circles start up by deciding together on a clear purpose. In this case, the purpose has been defined: Keep HSN operating through the pandemic. We hope you will join this mission.
How will my gift make a difference?
Your financial investment in HSN will specifically support the following in 2020:
- If the Giving Circle raises $15,000, HSN will be able to continue providing needed COVID-related resources to renters, launch a County-wide affordable housing awareness campaign to make the link between the well-being of our essential workers and the need for affordable housing, and host convenings with housing champions to identify strategies to keep momentum growing through the pandemic.
- If the Giving Circle raises $30,000, we will be able to do all of the above, as well as work with the Neighborly Rentals Housing Action Team to launch three pilot projects for new housing units, expand staff hours (currently at .25 and .37 FTE) to grow community outreach, and launch a Steering Committee to provide guidance and leadership for the network.
- If the Giving Circle raises $60,000, HSN will keep its doors open through at least the end of the year, giving us time to build a powerful Steering Committee that will work with us to develop and implement a sustainable fundraising plan and future vision. We will also be able to begin execution of the Rental Connections entity, training landlords and renters and creating a means of connecting the two to resources and tools to create more community-based rentals in existing spaces.
What does it take to become a member?
HSN Giving Circle Members each make a minimum annual investment of $1,000, which can be given as a one-time gift or as a recurring monthly donation of $84 a month. We encourage larger gifts as well. Your commitment can be for one year or for multiple years.
How do I sign up?
Donate $1,000 or more here, or send a check to:
Housing Solutions Network
201B W. Patison Street
Port Hadlock, WA 98368.
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 Kerry Hastings at firstname.lastname@example.org or 562.316.6179
Why should I do this again?
Because if we don’t change the current affordable housing trends:
- Jefferson Healthcare will continue to have fewer privately insured patients, compromising their long-term financial health and sustainability;
- The Paper Mill will continue to have fewer and fewer opportunities to employ Jefferson County residents;
- Our essential workers – like grocery store clerks and teachers – will be unable to remain here;
- Our businesses will continue to face limited growth opportunities because new workers cannot find a place to live;
- Our children, born and raised here, will be unable to move back to lead the future of our County.
As we struggle to define what it means to re-envision and recover here in Jefferson County, we cannot return to “normal” times, we cannot move backwards. This is a community in which many were already hurting. With your generosity, creativity, and community spirit, we use this moment of disruption as an opportunity for innovation and to weave our community fabric stronger than before. Please join the HSN Giving Circle so the essential workers of today have an affordable place to live tomorrow. Thank you.
Testimonial from our first Giving Circle member, 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.
If you have not seen the outreach video that has been shared with groups all over Jefferson County, reaching over 400 people, I do recommend you set up an opportunity to see it soon. To do so, email Justine at email@example.com