City wants public comments on housing-levy funds

Bellingham city officials are evaluating eight proposals seeking housing-levy funds, all designed to address housing needs for low-income people in our community.

The proposals and their preliminary rankings for funding are posted on the city’s website for public review, with public comments accepted through Sept. 12. The proposals are being reviewed by the city’s Community Development Advisory Board, which is expected to make recommendations to Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville in mid-September. Final awards are expected to be announced by the end of September.

“The proposals we are reviewing will provide safe, affordable housing and services for lower-income residents of our community,” Linville said, in an Aug. 9 news release from the city. “They also address other important community values, such as emphasizing sustainability, providing convenient access to transit and other services, and increasing ownership in areas where there are high concentrations of rental stock.”

The city solicited applications earlier this summer for projects to be funded by the Bellingham Home Fund levy, which was approved by voters in November 2012 and is expected to generate $3 million per year for seven years.

The proposals address needs in three priority program areas targeted to receive financial support from the Bellingham Home Fund, according to David Stalheim, the city’s housing program and block grant manager:

– The Production and Preservation of Homes Program funds the development and preservation of affordable rental housing in Bellingham, as well as the preservation or rehabilitation of owner-occupied housing.

– The Rental Assistance and Supportive Services Program serves vulnerable families and individuals who are experiencing homelessness or at imminent risk of homelessness.

-The Homebuyer Program provides resources to enable low-income households to purchase a home in the city.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction. 

Correction: Aug. 12, 2013
The original version of this article contained a typo that incorrectly reported the Bellingham Home Fund levy was approved by voters in November 2013 (which is, obviously, three months into the future). Voters approved the levy in November 2012. 

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