Where there is Sunshine, there are Shadows

Employer provided housing is frequently cited as a viable option to the shortage of available staff. That solution comes with challenges as the current sale of Rosario is demonstrating.

Of the 45 employees being laid off, 24 are also losing their homes, as housing was provided as part of their employment. Many have lived on Orcas for several years and feel deeply connected to the community. They will need to vacate their homes by the end of March. If they are fortunate enough to find an available rental, many do not have the resources needed to pay the first month rent, last month rent and a security deposit that is generally required to move into a new space. It is truly unfortunate and a challenge for all of us as we consider the ongoing economics of a community where housing costs have so outpaced a living wage.

Thanks to OPAL Community Land Trust, we have some glimmers of hope on the horizon. They are building 10 new homes on Kidder Way, as well as planning a new neighborhood on the recently purchased Pea Patch property. Rep. Debra Lekanoff is supporting a Capital Budget request of $350,000 to help support the Pea Patch project. If awarded, this funding will pay for an archaeologist and cultural resources expert, wetlands biologists, architects, civil engineers, surveyors, people with lived expertise and others to design a site plan for the future home of the Food Bank, Resource Center and supportive rental housing.

If you support this request, please let Rep. Lekanoff know by emailing her, as she needs to hear from you that this funding is important to the Orcas community.

The email could be as simple as:”I support a capital budget appropriation of $350,000 in support of the Pea Patch project.” Or you could personalize it. Either way, it is an action you can take today to help build a stronger, more resilient community for all who call Orcas home.