Bellingham Housing Authority Fight

At the City Council meeting on 3 February 1975 I called on the Bellingham Housing Authority to “Sh.. .. or get off the pot.”  In a front-page article the Bellingham Herald published the next day modified my words to read to “Get into gear.”  I was upset that the Housing Authority Board only provided housing for the elderly and ignored the needs of the low income and disabled population.  The Board ignored opportunities to apply for grants to build units for low income and disabled persons. 

The next day there was nothing in the paper about my remarks but on the following day a major article appeared on the front page of the Herald wherein the Housing Authority rejected my remarks.  Then the stuff “hit the fan.”  Read the newspaper articles that followed (appended hereto).  The Herald did a comprehensive look at other Housing Authority projects in other cities in the state and ended up criticizing the Bellingham Housing Authority for lack of action with regard to the needs of the wider population beyond the aged. 

The end result of all this public criticism was the removal of every member of the Board of Directors of the Housing Authority, some of whom had been on there for decades.  This was one more element of the “old boys network” that controlled public money but was unaccountable to the public for their actions until some “outsider” called them to task.  I also went back to the founding documents of the Housing Authority and checked the state laws and administrative codes governing the Housing Authorities in the state and found that the Bellingham Housing Authority had been operating outside the law ever since its founding.  With a new Board and a new Director, they now had to “shape up” and do the right thing for the needing populations of Bellingham.