The Poulsbo City Council Wednesday approved an agreement with Housing Kitsap to provide management services for the Nordic Cottage project on Lincoln Road.
In 2020, the council dedicated land at the Triangle Property (609 NE Lincoln Road) for affordable housing, documents read. Mayor Becky Erickson and Housing, Health and Human Services director Kim Hendrickson brought forward the agreement, which creates a partnership with Housing Kitsap to design and manage the Nordic Cottage project; $7,000 is authorized to Housing Kitsap under the agreement.
“Housing Kitsap is legally authorized to assist as a project manager of construction projects undertaken by governmental entities and is willing to provide such services to the city,” per documents. “This agreement will give the city the ability to make preliminary design plans for the site, and apply for state and federal funding.”
Housing affordability and displacement are growing problems in Poulsbo that require prompt attention, according to documents. In its 2020 report, the city’s Affordable Housing Task Force recognized the need for temporary and permanent housing for people making 60% or less of the area median income. Poulsbo’s Housing Action Plan lists the creation of “equitable housing solutions” as one of five city housing goals and calls out the importance of partnering with nonprofit organizations to make progress in this area.
Also at the meeting, U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer of the state’s 6th District addressed the council virtually to provide an update on federal funding. He told the council how to be successful, recommending the city apply in multiple areas.
“One of my main goals for 2022 is to make sure that those dollars come to our region,” he said. “Part of my goal in visiting you tonight is to tell you what we know in terms of being able to access those funds.”
Kilmer shared seven priorities for President Biden when it comes to funding: create and sustain good jobs; improve safety; improve inequities; improve quality of life; spur on the economy; combat climate change; and drive innovation. He said the American Rescue Plan has allowed citizens to get vaccinated, get kids back in school, helped businesses and helped people pay bills. Additionally, he said it created 6 million jobs, leading to the lowest jobless rate since 1969.
The congressman said there are no earmarks but Poulsbo can compete for $4.7 billion coming to the state to fix infrastructure. He also said $7.5 billion is available for protecting the environment, such as clean water, electric charging stations for vehicles and replacing culverts to restore salmon. He added equitable access to internet is very important.
“This infrastructure bill matters to everybody who struggled because they lack accessible, affordable, high-speed broadband,” Kilmer said. “We’ve learned over the last couple years that internet access is…about whether you can operate your business when your storefront shut down or whether you can take a remote class from Olympic College. Unfortunately, for far too many people that I represent, they can’t. It is expected that about a quarter-million Washingtonians who don’t have access will get access as a consequence of this law.”
Kilmer, who is in his fifth term, said a lot of federal money is available already, and he’s hoping for more if the Build Back Better Act passes. The BBB Act has passed the House and is waiting on Senate approval and is targeted at “families trying to make ends meet,” he said.
It includes two years of free preschool for every 3- and 4-year-old in America, would cut childcare costs in half for the average family, provide 35 million families across the country with a major tax cut by extending the expanding Child Tax Credit, and expanded financial aid for college students. Kilmer added the bill “as it passed the House includes the most significant federal investment in affordable housing in a generation, including funding for rental assistance.”
The council approved the 2022 lease extension for the Coffee Oasis Coffeehouse at 780 NE Iverson St. The lease says Coffee Oasis supports operations and youth activities, and terms will be the same. Coffee Oasis pays $811 in rent each month.
Also, Erickson told the council that she has written an endorsement for the North Kitsap School District levy renewals as a citizen, not as mayor, adding: “I am not asking this body for an endorsement. We have never done that in the city of Poulsbo. I feel compelled as (an) individual person to do this. It’s real important that we pass this levy this year because it’s just a continuation of their existing funding.”
The mayor also said she’s been approached by Kitsap County to have conversations about the city assuming Snyder Park, home of North Kitsap Little League on Viking Avenue. Erickson stated it’s “imperative” that the city moves forward with this because they can have a better chance of maintaining it and that the city needs acreage to support its parks.