LETTER: Restrict Airbnbs

There are more than 200 Airbnbs listed between Sequim and Port Angeles.

Many of them are taking viable homes off the rental market, contributing to the already stressed housing market in this area.

This is insane.

Increasingly, I’m hearing from homeowners that they are considering turning their home into an Airbnb instead of using it as a long-term rental, and it saddens me.

It saddens me because this has a ripple effect across our community and affects several pieces of the rental market.

Not only does it take a home off the market and drive up the cost of rent, but also a recent study has linked Airbnbs to an increase in crime.

Having served this community in a variety of roles, I have found the main obstacle for struggling individuals and families is the availability of affordable housing.

I have seen that to be true among people with chronic mental health issues, making it hard for them to stay off the streets, and for families in the dependency court system, adding to the stress of trying to reunite and heal their families.

It even affects our active duty Coast Guard members, who are unable to find housing while they serve their country.

Because homelessness and crime are hot-button topics here, it seems locals would want to take action to curb the trend.

Other cities have enacted legislation that restricts and regulates Airbnbs; it’s time for the Port Angeles City Council to do the same.

It’s time to put people over profits.

Brooke Cole

Port Angeles

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