The Home Fund will invest $21 million, and leverage an additional $70 to $140 million, to build or preserve housing for over 1,300 homes. This will create local jobs and generate demand throughout the building industry. In 2010, the average annual wage for building construction workers was $59,000; much higher than the average of all workers, which was only $37,000. In addition, local housing affordability efforts save public money by reducing expenses for social services, emergency room medical care, triage, law enforcement and other costs associated with temporary and chronic homelessness. Two local programs recently documented that housing services increased access to mental health services and reduced criminal justice costs by over 90 percent.
Prop. 1, the low-income housing levy that will create the Bellingham Home Fund, is the right thing to do for our community.