Mr. Lukoskie’s concept of 40 affordable cottages scattered around the island is inspiring (“Affordable housing calls for creative solutions,” July 25). And I hope he will pursue it and make it a reality. Though I suspect he will encounter the same problems of funding and legal issues that discouraged Vashon HouseHold when they explored a similar concept.
In the meantime, it seems unfair to criticize Vashon HouseHold for doing what can actually be done.
To create something like Island Center Homes requires literally years of persevering commitment on the part of many talented individuals, almost all of them volunteers. It seems unfair to compare their work, as Mr. Lukoskie does, to the vast concrete housing projects (“beehives” he calls them) in cities like New York or Chicago. Island Center Homes will accommodate eight people each in five separate buildings.
Perhaps Mr. Lukoskie fears that residents will engage in behaviors that have plagued urban projects: drugs and violence and gangs. This fear often accompanies efforts to create affordable housing. The fear is usually unspoken, and it’s probably good to address it openly.
First off, only a quarter of the units at Island Center Homes will be for those currently homeless. And all residents, no matter their background, will have to apply and go through a screening process as with any other rental. Note too that islanders will have priority: these are people who already live here … peacefully. And, as with other rentals, if anyone fails to comply with normal standards of behavior, they will have to leave. (There will be a social worker/manager on site.)
Finally, Vashon Household already has a proud history of providing affordable housing for islanders. They currently manage four island sites, and none have become undesirable “beehives.” They are decent, peaceful homes for decent, peaceful people. There’s every reason to believe Island Center Homes will be the same.
— Gordon Quinlan