Helen is an English biologist who relocated to Cortes and runs FOCI (Friends of Cortes Island), which is the closest thing we have to a department of the environment on a minimally regulated island, whose natural resources, healthy ecosystems, and wild beauty most of us are committed to protecting and preserving.

“I have seen some rentals that are so horrible, damp, bats, rats, dirty, yet still too expensive, given island wages”, Helen said of the stress involved in the rental process. She put it very simply, “Can you imagine if all the stress that so many renters experience  could just be put into normal life, we’d have a much more stable and productive community.” Indeed! She herself has had to move six times in the four years of her residency on Cortes.

We all rely and depend on the services and capabilities of so many whose shelter here is precarious, thus endangering their long-term island viability.

Many young couples come to Cortes bringing enthusiasm, talent and sometimes children with them, only be forced off island through lack of stable affordable housing. They have little chance of qualifying for a traditional mortgage, insufficient money to buy outright, and even less chance of renting. The island loses a new generation to support our school and the infusion of energy that comes with young invested residents.

Visitors, summer residents, and year-round residents derive untold benefits from so many whose very presence here is in jeopardy if they cannot secure housing. The quality of this island would be further diminished if those who can no longer manage to maintain a single household are forced off island. Our mutual loss!

Please join us in being part of the solution on this rare rock we call home and wish to see flourish.