Like communities across the Puget Sound region, Bellingham and Whatcom County are struggling to deal with homelessness and housing affordability.
Bellingham city officials are hoping to address some of those issues in a June 13 town hall meeting. Residents have until Wednesday to submit questions beforehand about housing and homelessness.
"I think the main thing we're looking for is to open up the line of communication on one of the most pressing issues," said council president Michael Lilliquist.
Only about a third of Whatcom County homes are considered affordable for a median-income family, according to the Washington State Commerce Department. That's compared to about 41 percent in King County and 58 percent in Pierce County.
"Probably two thirds of the people in Bellingham are concerned about their own housing crisis. And [for] one third of them, it is a daily and continuous concern that may lead them to actually consider moving," Lilliquist said.
City staff and outside experts will spend the first hour of the event answering previously submitted questions. Then attendees will be able to ask questions directly.