Whatcom County is beautiful, but not all is well when many average citizens have serious economic problems. In Whatcom County 15.7 percent of us live in poverty; 50 percen of us do not have affordable housing; 22 percent receive food stamps and until recently 25,202 of us lacked health insurance. Too many people endure the national fast food/retail model that employs good folks part-time with minimum wages and avoids paying benefits. This results in heavy use of the food bank and food stamps. Low- and moderate-income families struggle to pay for rent and food. Many parents work extra jobs and have little time and energy to participate in raising their children.
There is a solution that does not rely on the social safety net, which is to create more guaranteed full-time living-wage jobs. The Green/Blue Coalition offers a community benefits agreement between employees and the developers to be included in the waterfront district development that ensures a living-wage, full-time employment and benefits. A written agreement, no more, no less than any other profession doing business on the Waterfront to make it truly beautiful.