The 2018 Prosperity Report has been released. The report, conducted by the Whatcom Opportunity Council, provides analysis of the findings of a 2017 survey of people living at in poverty in several counties including San Juan.

The WOC conducts this survey every three years. OICF launched the Dental Clinic after reading the results of the 2011 survey, when access to dental care was rated the number one issue for this segment of the community.

This year’s key findings include:

  • Access to affordable housing was identified the greatest need by survey respondents, who reported that the key housing problems are availability, and affordability. Fifteen percent of respondents identified themselves as homeless, and about half of the respondents were reported as renters, with the remainder of the surveyed group living in shared and transitional/emergency housing.
  • Access to and affordability of dental care is still identified as a high need in the survey group. Participants cited lack of insurance and high costs as the top obstacles to consistent care. Costs of healthcare, including dental, medical, and mental health, were reported as being barriers to proper care. Medical bills were also reported as a key factor in the surveyed group’s inability to save money and/or reduce debt.
  • A lack of living wage jobs and availability of affordable and nutritious foods were other critical needs in the community that were reported in the findings. The majority of surveyed individuals reported using food assistance to feed themselves and their family and almost half reported having to skip meals or go hungry in the last 12 months.

OICF remains committed to helping to address these issues. The services available through the dental clinic have been expanded to include dentures, and we are looking into the feasibility of adding more dates to the program (currently running two-day clinics quarterly). OICF provided a $25,000 Give Orcas grant to the Orcas Community Resource Center to expand capacity to connect clients to services, as well as a $250,000 commitment from OICF’s Henigson Legacy Fund to OPAL CLT’s affordable rental project, April’s Grove. All steps towards moving the needle and helping to make Orcas a healthy community for all who call this island home.

Here is the link to read the full report-

All the best-