Can housing be affordable? April 7 forum in Port Townsend targets issue

Posted 4/4/11

The affordability gap in Port Townsend and Jefferson County continues to grow. That is the gap between the average wage of a Jefferson County resident and the average price of a home.

“We have …

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Can housing be affordable? April 7 forum in Port Townsend targets issue

Posted

The affordability gap in Port Townsend and Jefferson County continues to grow. That is the gap between the average wage of a Jefferson County resident and the average price of a home.

“We have an affordable housing crisis that worsens every year,” said organizers of an April 7 forum addressing the crisis. “Many workers, including police, firefighters, healthcare providers, teachers and clerks, cannot afford to live near their jobs.”

The forum draws top experts from local and regional agencies to discuss the problem and possible solutions. The event is from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship hall at 2333 San Juan Ave. in Port Townsend.

Panelists include David Rymph, a regional affordable housing expert with Homeward Bound, and Paul Purcell of the Beacon Development Group. Other speakers include Al Scalf of Jefferson County Community Development; Judy Surber, a Port Townsend city planner; and Port Townsend City Council member Kris Nelson.

In addition, Jamie Maciejewski of Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson County and Pam Tietz of the Peninsula Housing Authority will be on hand.

Organizers sought to bring almost everyone with a major role in local affordable housing into one room at one time.

In addition to providing information about affordable housing in Jefferson County and possible solutions, panelists update the conclusions of a comprehensive 2006 study on affordable housing in this county.

The panel discussion will target ways that local residents, agencies and local government can work toward solutions using models that have proven successful elsewhere, according to organizers.

Each panelist is expected to discuss the role their organization can play in developing affordable housing, progress made to date and what barriers still exist to doing more.

Purcell brings a statewide perspective to the discussion, and is expected to describe successful programs in other Washington communities.

Questions will be taken from the audience

Forum moderator is Scott Wilson, publisher of the Leader and

ptleader.com.

The event is being hosted by QUUF, with Rod Mitchell, Henry Werch and Joyce Francis acting as lead organizers.

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