Poulsbo approves funds for emergency rental assistance

‘They’re an eyelash away from homelessness if we don’t help.’

The use of up to $7,000 of city funds for emergency rental assistance was approved at Wednesday’s City Council meeting to assist people whose income is at or below 60% of the area median income.

According to council documents, assistance will be restricted to people who, because of age or disability, live on a fixed income and are substantially impacted by recent rent increases. Fishline Comprehensive Services will accept applications for the funding, assess eligibility and distribute the funds. Funds will not be available to individuals who qualify for COVID rental assistance.

“We were approached by some tenants; we did our homework, and we agreed we needed to do something else or else they were going to be out on the street,” Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson said. “This will give them some time to figure out another alternative.”

Documents state that housing affordability and housing displacement are growing problems in Poulsbo. The city participates in a sales tax revenue sharing program with the State (SHB 1406) that creates a revenue stream of approximately $30,000 each year for affordable housing. 1406 funds may be used for expenses relating to the construction and operation of affordable housing units. In cities with populations of 100,000 or less, like Poulsbo, funds may also be used for rental assistance.

“There are a number of rental units impacted by this,” Councilmember Connie Lord said. “The whole point of this is to help capture and get some assistance for people who are going to have their rent increase imminently…which puts them in great jeopardy of not being able to increase their own funding to be able to pay for the increase. They’re an eyelash away from homelessness if we don’t help.

“It’s not meant to be an ongoing subsidy for people; it’s a one-time help for these people,” Lord went on to say. “It’s kind of on an emergency basis. We have funds available that will allow these people to have time, maybe up to six months, to find another place to live.”

Council raises

Also during the meeting, a motion was approved to increase councilmember salaries from $750 to $1,000 per month. The increase would be effective Jan. 1, 2022, for positions 5-7 and Jan. 1, 2024, for positions 1-4. Documents state that in order to maintain parity with like jurisdictions and to be fairly compensated for the amount of time necessary to fulfill the duties of the position, the increase is warranted. The last increase was in 2016.

“Nobody can vote themselves a raise while still in office,” Councilmember Jeff McGinty said. “This only affects the people who get re-elected into the new term next year. This is not like we’re giving ourselves a raise personally.”

“I don’t think anyone really knows, unless you are a councilmember, just how much time you do put into it,” Erickson said. “When you’re on the City Council you’re all in, and it takes a lot of energy and effort.”

The council also set a public hearing on the 2021-22 Mid-Biennial Budget Amendment Ordinance for Nov. 17 at 7:15 p.m.

More in News

Firework cakes with prices attached, Elisha Meyer/Port Orchard Independent
Fizzle or boom on fireworks with higher costs?

Fourth of July celebrations in Kitsap County are getting back to pre-pandemic… Continue reading

Downtown Port Orchard. Courtesy Photo
Funding advances for Port Orchard downtown revitalization

The House Appropriations Committee has advanced new funding championed by U.S. Rep.… Continue reading

Suquamish Councilmember Sammy Mabe speaks during the tribe's joint meeting with the city of Poulsbo. Courtesy Photos
Poulsbo, Suquamish officials meet for 1st time since 2020

Tribe suspended relationship following fatal shooting

Heraldnet photo
Former Bremerton High assistant football coach Joe Kennedy was placed on paid leave in 2015 following a dispute with Bremerton School District over his leading prayer sessions at the 50-yard line following games.
Supreme Court rules in favor of former Bremerton football coach

High court’s 6-3 decision states Joe Kennedy was terminated without justification

Former Bremerton High assistant football coach’s six-year battle leading up to the Supreme Court ends with a decision in his favor over religious freedom issues. (First Liberty Institute photo)
Prayers answered: Coach wins in Supreme Court

Bremerton football coach prevails in a 6-3 court decision

Applesauce from South Kitsap High lunchroom
Changes in free summer lunch program upset some

A popular food program is making its return to the South Kitsap… Continue reading

Motorcyclists weave through each other during a pre-parade demonstration. Elisha Meyer/Port Orchard Independent Photos
Fathoms parade winners announced

The annual Fathoms O’ Fun Festival returned to the streets of Port… Continue reading

Consumer fireworks are now for sale across Kitsap County, with the exception of Bainbridge Island. (File photo)
It’s official: Fireworks season has begun

Sales started Tuesday; consumer fireworks can only be discharged on Fourth of July

Most Read