Sen. Ranker supports voting yes for homes | Letters

This November we have an incredible opportunity to make sure that the very special island communities we love remain into the future when we vote Yes for Homes on our ballot.

Currently, San Juan County has the least affordable housing in Washington state with the median price of a home being nearly 30 percent higher than in the rest of the state. Since 1990, island median home prices have increased by an average of 9.2 percent per year, while median household incomes have increased by only 3.7 percent per year with one-third of San Juan County workers are employed in low-wage jobs.

There are very few homes available for less than $300,000. While half of the owner-occupied homes in Washington are valued below $300,000, in San Juan County, just 22 percent of the house values are below $300,000 — and most are not available. In fact, in 2017 only 18 percent of the houses in the county were valued at a price that would be considered affordable to the 46 percent of the households making $50,000 or less per year. In most counties in the state, 34 percent of homes are rented. In San Juan County just 17 percent are renter-occupied. Home prices and rents in San Juan County have increased in a way that is totally out of touch with wages.

Each member of our island communities should not only be able to live here but should be able to thrive here, knowing they have access to a safe, healthy, affordable home. And more importantly, their children deserve a chance to succeed in school and in life, which begins with their families being able to afford a decent place to live.

Unless we want to become a community of only the wealthy, with no socioeconomic diversity, where the incredible fabric of our community that we love is lost forever, we must do something now. We must vote Yes for Homes this November. Voting yes will generate millions of dollars for the production and preservation of affordable homes, helping over 400 families in our communities.

Let’s make sure we protect the incredible communities that we love. Let’s all vote Yes for Homes!

Senator Kevin Ranker

Orcas Island