Risk of homelessness high for many in the San Juan Islands

March 18, 2022
Nancy DeVaux

Unhoused individuals and families live in every county in Washington. In San Juan County, the problem is compounded by low-paying jobs in the service industry — among the lowest wages in the state — as well as the high cost of housing and a shortage of affordable rentals.

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On the street and in the forum: tackling homelessness with meaningful solutions

November 12, 2021
Mallory Biggar

The complex and urgent problem of homelessness has been the focus of academics and policy makers as well as people with a firsthand knowledge of the experience, in two separate gatherings recently in Bellingham — and activists say that those most affected should be involved in creating solutions.

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The Gardenview Village tiny homes open avenues of hope for those experiencing homelessness

November 5, 2021
Lauren Gallup

Gardenview Village, a new community of tiny homes located off Lakeway Drive in Bellingham, will include 35 houses to serve unhoused members of the community when complete. The site already is providing homes to some residents since opening in mid-October.

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Election 2021: Addressing homelessness is priority for city, county candidates — and there’s agreement on how to do so

October 14, 2021
Lauren Gallup

Candidates for Bellingham city and Whatcom County councils share concern that there are not enough options for people living unhoused in the area, and incumbents and challengers both say they want to do more to address the housing crisis.

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Homelessness, fossil fuels, food deserts: primary candidates face the issues in Bellingham, Whatcom forums

July 30, 2021
Mike Sato

Candidates in the 2021 primary election for Bellingham city and Whatcom county council positions answered questions on topics from homelessness to fossil fuel in forums hosted by he League of Women Voters of Bellingham-Whatcom County.

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photo: Rowan Forsythe © 2021

Caught in a web of causes: homelessness hits harder than ever

April 16, 2021
Rowan Forsythe

The growing presence of unhoused individuals and their expanding footprint into residential neighborhoods has shocked and bewildered others in the community, while the urgency of the problem threatens to distract from understanding the underlying realities perpetuating this crisis.

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Who are the homeless?

May 11, 2022
John Dunne

Our concept of the “deserving poor” needs to expand past attitudes mirroring 17th and 18th century mores that drive today’s ambivalent response to homelessness.

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Affordable housing—however defined—is in short supply in Skagit County

March 24, 2022
Lauren Gallup
Everyone’s versions of “affordable” housing are in high demand—and short supply—in steadily growing Skagit County.
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Winter shelter solutions lag behind need as unhoused number continues to grow

February 3, 2022
Noah Harper

Whatcom County’s unhoused population has seen a steady rise over the past decade, making it hard to plan how to meet shelter and housing needs. But planning — a year or more in advance — is an important part of finding long-term solutions.

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Youth has its day and its say in 42nd District Senate vacancy vote

January 13, 2022
Matt Benoit and Mike Sato

In a special meeting Jan. 11, the Whatcom County Council appointed Simon Sefzik as the newest — and youngest on record — member to serve in the Washington State Senate, filling the vacant 42nd District seat of the late Sen. Doug Ericksen.

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For the people: what local legislators plan for the 2022 session

January 7, 2022
40th and 42nd District Legislators

Dealing with climate change, providing economic relief post-COVID-19 and ensuring sustainability for the Washington State Ferries system made the priority lists of elected officials returning to take care of the people’s business when the 2022 session opens Jan. 10.

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Housing pressures spark new look at inclusionary zoning

January 7, 2022
Lauren Gallup

Inclusionary zoning policies that either incentivize or require developers to include some units in construction projects that qualify as affordable housing are being reexamined as a way to provide much-needed affordable housing in Bellingham.

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2021: A look back at some stories from the first full year of Salish Current

December 31, 2021
Salish Current editors

2021 was a year like no other, with themes such as public health vis-à-vis COVID-19 and opioid addiction; social justice in the courts, the arts, housing and policing; and climate change and natural resources including water rights management. Salish Current offers a look back via articles published during the nonprofit newsroom’s first full year.

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Police, mental health workers face challenge, confusion with new use-of-force law

August 20, 2021
Matt Benoit

House Bill 1310 established new rules about use of force by police when it took effect in Washington last month, and law enforcement and social service agencies continue to grapple with confusion related to challenges to the new law.

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Whatcom director among public health leaders stressed by threats, resistance re pandemic management

August 11, 2021
Stephen S. Howie / Crosscut.com

Email threats, irate officials and dealing with misinformation have become part of the job for stress-filled public health workers, including the director of Whatcom County’s health department.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2020

Law and order, alternatives to jail: Bellingham compiles a wide-ranging priorities wish list for new police chief

May 13, 2021
Stella Harvey

As Bellingham’s search for a new police chief moves forward, the community has weighed in on what priorities should be under new leadership: some say law and order should top the list, others say it’s time to reimagine policing.

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