Housing Hope Deputy Executive Director Fred Safstrom presented to Monroe City Council on Tuesday to provide status information on two upcoming low-income housing projects slated for the West Main Street area of Monroe. Housing Hope is a 501C3 nonprofit organization dedicated to combating homelessness in Snohomish County. In addition to fighting homelessness, the organization functions proactively, by way of life skills classes and other programs, to help families become self-sufficient.
“We are not satisfied with simply solving homelessness; our objective is to solve the issue of poverty,” said Safstrom. “Not just for the adults in the household, but also for the children in the household.”
Safstrom explained that, in Housing Hope’s experience, short-term financial assistance programs are simply not sustainable as long-term strategies for helping families to achieve financial independence.
“These families have very significant challenges, often coming from inter-generational poverty, and need some intensive help,” said Safstrom.
In additional to their life skills program, Housing Hope offers an entire series of courses through their College of Hope program. Families can take classes on economic wellbeing, housing expertise, health and wellness and family life. They also offer employment counseling which includes job readiness training, resume building, communication skills and much more.
The smaller of the two projects, the Main Street Townhomes, will be located on West Main Street near Dennis Way. The small development, which will feature 13 units, will be one of Housing Hope’s Team Homebuilding projects in which the future homeowners take on the task of building their own new homes. Through their own “sweat equity,” families are able to earn the down payments for their new residences.
“It’s a fabulous program,” said Safstrom. “Not only do they earn a home, but they also create their own neighborhood.”
The Team Homebuilding program was started in Monroe. Safstrom shared that families with incomes as low as $30,000 per year can qualify for Team Homebuilding, and that the program has given people the opportunity to work together and develop successfully on a societal level as they have come together to build their own communities.
Financing for the project is expected to be in place by mid-June, and the 13 families who will be participating in building the Monroe Townhomes will begin construction immediately thereafter.
The larger of the two projects, the Monroe Family Village, will be located further west at 17428 W. Main St. near the NW Antique Swap Meet. The 47-unit development will include 32 two-bedroom units and 15 three-bedroom units, all of which will be oriented towards serving low-income families with children. A common area has been designed for classes and program delivery. The family village will feature onsite property management, as well as in-home case management to assist families transitioning from homelessness.
Financing for the Monroe Family Village should come together sometime in May, and construction will likely start in early June.
Safstrom thanked the mayor and councilmembers for their support over the years.
“There is tremendous community support, tremendous community enthusiasm for the work that’s taking place here,” said Safstrom. “My hat’s off to you for the leadership you’re providing the community.”
For more information about Housing Hope, please visit their website: http://www.housinghope.org/.
PARKS AND RECREATION PUBLIC WORKSHOP
The city of Monroe would like to invite all citizens to attend the Parks and Recreation Workshop which will take place on Thursday, May 1 at 6:30 p.m. at Park Place Elementary School. Attendees will be welcome to participate in the process of updating Monroe’s parks plan as the city continues to work on the 2015 Comprehensive Plan update.
The goal for the new parks plan is to renovate the vision for the city’s park system and to establish priorities which are relevant to Monroe residents, as well as the city’s visitors.
NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER
Monroe Mayor Geoffrey Thomas proclaimed Thursday, May 1 as a day of prayer and asked citizens to join him in observing the national event.
“Whereas annually, the President of the United States of America issues a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a national day of prayer; therefore I, Geoffrey Thomas, mayor of the city of Monroe Washington, do hereby support and encourage the residents of Monroe to join me on May 1, 2014 in observing the National Day of Prayer,” said Mayor Thomas.
Monroe Pastor Michael Hanford invited the mayor and council to join him at the National Day of Prayer service which will be held at 7 p.m. on May 1 at the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The church is located at 14118 Chain Lake Rd. in Monroe.
“We’ll be blessed to have the judges in the area there, as well as the state legislators and the Snohomish County Executive John Lovick,” said Pastor Hanford.
He invited all to attend.