At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Ferndale City Council it was approved by ordinance to establish the North Whatcom Poverty Task Force. According to City Administrator Jori Burnett when describing the agenda item before the meeting, “The task force is intended to spend 2019 collecting data, and to spend 2020 developing recommendations, on the nature of poverty in North Whatcom County, and ways to address this growing concern.”
According to the post-meeting follow-up agenda prepared by City Clerk Susan Duncan,
The City of Ferndale continues to feel the impacts of rising house prices, income inequality, homelessness and food insecurity. Since Ferndale has not made a unified effort to confront the impacts of poverty in recent memory, it is time to conduct a comprehensive study and compile a list of recommendations to prepare our community for this growing challenge. This ordinance would create a two-year task force to examine the impact of poverty on our community and identify concrete steps the City can take towards addressing these issues. The preliminary needs assessment will be completed by September 30, 2019. The task force will then develop a set of recommendations to be presented to the City Council before December 31. 2020.
The following is the draft version of the ordinance presented to the council for approval. It was approved by a unanimous vote of the council.