Dear Editor:

My husband and I write this letter to celebrate Salida City Council’s unanimous decision on Tuesday night to approve Jane’s Place for development.

We believe the Salida we fell in love with, and moved our family and business to 22 years ago, still exists. The welcoming, caring and active community is still intact, though it is growing in leaps and bounds. The caring community is being called to action.

Most of us are fully aware of the housing crisis in and around Salida. I need not list all the reasons as they have been discussed again and again.

Many discussions, very little progress. This is an important issue that needs to progress more quickly. Our work force is slim and diminishing continually as real estate prices continue to rise and long-term rentals are becoming rare.

Jane’s Place is a private/public project that will offer some housing solutions for 35-50 people (a variety of people: those in crisis, volunteers, youth with disabilities, formerly incarcerated, seasonal employees and new workforce recruits) to attain housing at reasonable prices.

It could allow the residents time to find a more permanent housing situation and/or employment. Jane’s Place won’t come close to solving the housing problem overall, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

My husband and I are all in on supporting the Jane’s Place project. We believe this project can be an inspiration to other entities to step up and take on similar projects.

As we can’t seem to solve the housing crisis with one big solution we need to move ahead with more smaller solutions.

Doing nothing will hurt Salida in the long run. We don’t want to be a community that has to bus in workers from homes hours away. We trust that the caring community that welcomed us 22 years ago is alive and well.

We applaud the council for giving its resounding support to Jane’s Place. As personal friends of Jane Whitmer, it was impactful and honoring to hear the numerous personal stories of her legacy, impact, and heart – and how those inspired this housing development and will continue to build the community we all want and need.

Colleen and Michael Kunkel