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Letter from the Director

Dear Friends of Helpline House,

First let me thank you for your unbelievable support and generosity. Helpline House is able to assist generously because of you. Thank you. As we are in the midst of our annual appeal to ‘Stand by Your Neighbor,’ I am humbled by all the ways you have done that for your community.

Here are TWO more opportunities to take action and Stand by Your Neighbor to support Helpline House and our community.

You may have heard about Helpline House’s request for $100,000 from the City of Bainbridge Island’s Housing Trust Fund to support those facing housing insecurity on the Island. You can read the full memo in the City Council’s agenda here.

Helpline House believes strongly that it is in all of our interests to provide financial and other supports to our neighbors who experience housing insecurity. It is exponentially more expensive and challenging to re-house a household once homeless than it is to prevent that household from becoming homeless in the first place. Assisting households with this important financial assistance is essential in preserving the diversity and bounty of a full community. It gives our friends, family, and neighbors the ability to stay housed on the Island during difficult financial times in their lives.

To give you some idea of the need for this assistance, in 2018, 548 appointments at Helpline House were related to housing insecurity. Five hundred forty eight. That gives us extra motivation to ensure we have adequate funding for our neighbors in need.

On June 4th, I spoke at the City Council study session to propose this request. If you’re interested in watching it, you can click here. The matter will be on the agenda at the City Council’s June 25th business meeting. This meeting will take public comment.

Action Step: Please email your City Council representative and express your support for allocating the full amount of $100,000 from the Housing Trust fund to Helpline House to be used to assist our neighbors facing housing insecurity. A list of their emails and districts can be found here or you can send one email to that will reach all the Council members. Last, if you feel as strongly about this as we do, please consider coming to the June 25th Council meeting to express your support through public comment.

The other pressing matter is also related to housing affordability. Our friends at Housing Resources Bainbridge need the community’s support to preserve 13 units of Affordable Housing on the Island. The 550 Madison property is for sale, and HRB has put in an offer. If the seller, Housing Kitsap, accepts HRB’s offer, the units will remain affordable for the community in perpetuity. While HRB has made a generous offer, Housing Kitsap is sure to receive higher offers that almost certainly will demolish the building and develop units that are very likely not going to be affordable.

Action Step: please read HRB’s full email below and contact the Board of Commissioners of Housing Kitsap via email to express your support for HRB’s purchase of the 550 Madison property. Email addresses and a sample email can be found in HRB’s letter below.

From Phedra Elliot, Director of Housing Resources Bainbridge:

As you may have seen in HRB’s letter to the editor, on our FB page, or from our email last Thursday, Housing Kitsap has listed a 13 unit multifamily complex for sale on Madison.

Housing Resources Bainbridge has made an offer to purchase this complex. HRB’s mission is to preserve the diversity and vitality of Bainbridge Island by providing and maintaining affordable housing opportunities in the community. Should Housing Kitsap accept our offer, these units will remain affordable for the community in perpetuity. If these units are sold to another buyer, they will almost certainly disappear from the portfolio of affordable units on Bainbridge Island, further eroding what is already a chronic shortage of affordable rental units.

We have written letters and emails to encourage the Board of Commissioners of Housing Kitsap to act in accordance with its mission (which is the same in spirit and intent as HRB’s) and accept our offer for this property. We hope the citizens of Bainbridge Island and Kitsap county will encourage this also. As a community, we must work to create more housing that is affordable to those of lower income levels and we absolutely must preserve the housing we already have.

If you feel strongly, as we do, about this property and its sale, please let your elected officials on Housing Kitsap’s board know. Below are the emails of the Housing Kitsap Board of Commissioners and an email template that you can add to or simply copy and paste. It is our understanding that the Finance Committee of Housing Kitsap has selected a different higher offer, but the full board must approve that decision. The full Board of Housing Kitsap will meet on June 25th to make a decision regarding this property.

Emails for the Housing Kitsap Board of Commissioners:

Becky Erickson, Mayor of Poulsbo:

Ed Wolfe, Kitsap County Commissioner, District 3:

Charlotte Garrido, Kitsap County Commissioner, District 2:

Rob Gelder, Kitsap County Commissioner, District 1:

Kol Medina, Mayor of Bainbridge Island:

Danielle Murphy, Resident Commissioner:

Rob Putaansuu, Mayor of Port Orchard:

Stuart Grogan, Executive Director Housing Kitsap:

Dear Commissioners of Housing Kitsap:

I am writing to ask you to support Housing Resources Bainbridge’s offer to purchase the 550 Madison property on Bainbridge Island. If Housing Kitsap accepts HRB’s offer, these units will remain affordable in perpetuity for the community. If the property is sold to another buyer, they will almost certainly disappear from the portfolio of affordable units on Bainbridge Island, further eroding what is already a chronic shortage of affordable rental units.

I am asking you as Commissioner on the Housing Kitsap Board to vote to accept HRB’s offer and work with HRB to acquire 550 Madison. The missions of HRB and Housing Kitsap are identical in spirit and intent and this housing is vital to everyone on Bainbridge Island and Kitsap County. A community that includes people of all income levels and walks of life is vital to the health of that community.

Thank you.

Your Name

Your City, Kitsap County, WA

Please feel free to share this email with your contacts both on Bainbridge Island and in broader Kitsap County.

Thank you for your advocacy and support! Please let me know if you have any questions.

Maria Metzler Executive Director | 206.842.7621 x 225 |

282 Knechtel Way NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 |

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