By Polly Keary, Editor
As builders finish construction of Woods Creek Village on Fremont Street, six more struggling Sky Valley families are soon to get new homes.
But before they can move in, affordable housing organization Housing Hope needs a little help with the apartment complex’s finishing touches.
So Saturday they are asking for area volunteers to come help “raise a village” Saturday, assisting with the final details on the new homes.
“We’re envisioning an old-fashioned barn-raising,” said Nate Greenland, Philanthropy Manager at Housing Hope. “We are hoping to get up to 100 volunteers out to help us accomplish these projects.”
Projects volunteers will tackle include installing a playground, putting in a community garden and tool shed, painting sidewalks with sidewalk games, moving dumpsters, planting a buffer zone and more.
When the buildings are finished, Monroe will have six new units of transitional housing.
Such housing is intended help families get back on their feet after a setback until they can move on to a steady income sufficient for market-rate housing.
Residents pay a third of their income for the rent, work with case workers and take classes on life skills while they move toward independence.
It’s one of four kinds of housing offered by the Snohomish County non-profit.
Emergency shelter is for people who need a temporary place to stay. Transitional housing is for people who need help getting on their feet before they can achieve stability and long-term housing. Permanent affordable housing is for people who earn below a certain amount who need housing they can afford. And self-help home ownership offers people who otherwise would not be able to afford a house an opportunity to help build their own home and finance it affordably.
Currently Housing Hope has eight units of permanent affordable housing and transitional housing at the Fremont Street site, and the new units will bring that number to 14.
But there’s more coming to the complex than just new homes.
Housing Hope has a goal of developing communities as well as housing, and to that end the complex now includes a community building and a play area.
“The community room is a space where residents can meet as a group for onsite events like birthday parties for kids, and for classes as needed,” said Greenland. “It’s a place for residents to gather together. And having the playground will allow more outdoor activity for neighbors to get to know each other.”
Building community is an important part of building healthy homes, the manager said.
And building healthy homes is something at which Housing Hope has excelled at in the 25 years since it was founded.
Success stories include that of a Marysville family that recovered from drug addiction in a homeless shelter before moving to transitional housing and finally helping construct their own self-help home.
A woman abandoned with her three children by her husband in Monroe, a town far from her Oregon home, eventually got emergency shelter, then an apartment in Sultan, where she stayed until landing a good job at Costco and moving into an apartment of her own.
A young woman in Sultan, living with her infant and her mother in a travel trailer, spent time in Housing Hope’s transitional housing before getting her own home with her husband and child.
The completed apartments at Woods Creek will bring the number of affordable housing units in Monroe to 34. And soon Housing Hope will complete a 47-unit building on West Main, if all goes according to plan.
Housing Hope sees itself as an extension of the Monroe and Sky Valley community, said Greenland.
And he hopes area residents will come and see where their newest community members will live.
“This is a chance for the community to come out and own this great resource for families who are struggling to get back on their feet and be strong,” he said. “And when families are strong, that leads to strong and healthy communities.”
The event will take place Saturday, March 16 at Woods Creek Village at 320 E. Main Street in Monroe. The morning shift will run from 8 a.m. to noon, and the afternoon shift will go from 1-5 p.m.
Lunch will be provided at noon for all volunteers.