Winthrop project planned for 2023
In early November, the Methow Housing Trust and Housing Authority of Okanogan County teased an upcoming partnership for affordable housing in the Methow Valley, promising more information to come.
This week, the groups announced that they would partner to build an entire neighborhood including 26 single-family Housing Trust homes, 22 multi-family rental units, and shared common areas, pathways, roads and infrastructure.
The neighborhood, still in the planning stages, will be located in Winthrop, near the Confluence Health Clinic off Highway 20 on an 8-acre parcel of land purchased by the Housing Trust in 2017. The two organizations have signed a memorandum of understanding to work on the project together.
“This partnership has been brewing for over two years, but the events and market trends of this past year made it a clear priority,” said Housing Trust Executive Director Danica Ready in a statement. “MHT has learned, from informal conversations with our partners in affordable rental development, that a key to their grant-seeking success is being able to declare secured land for their project at the time they apply for funding. We have so much respect for the leadership and work of HAOC, so it was an obvious partnership to pursue.”
According to the housing trust, the Methow’s median home sale price has nearly doubled in the past five years. Access to affordable housing has been one of the biggest topics of discussion in the valley in the past two years as the COVID-19 pandemic has brought more new residents to the valley, and lower- and middle-income Methow workers have struggled to find affordable rentals or homes to purchase.
The Methow Housing Trust has built 21 homes in the Methow Valley in the past four years.
“Expanding housing opportunities for low-income families and seniors in the Methow Valley has been part of the HAOC’s current 5-year strategic plan for several years now,” said Nancy Nash-Mendez, Executive Director of the organization. “When the partnership opportunity with the MHT arose, the board of directors were in full support of exploring the partnership because it represented a win- win venture for the two partnering agencies and a huge win for our community members who are in need of housing.”
The Trust has about 40 people on a waitlist for their homes, and the Housing Authority has 50 people on waitlists for voucher and affordable housing programs.
“The housing crisis we are currently facing … is not new news for us,” Nash-Mendez said. “The thought that through this new partnership, there will be 40- plus families having a place to call home by the end of 2023 is very exciting.”
The planning and permitting process is expected to be completed in spring of 2022, with infrastructure development following. The organizations hope to begin construction by 2023.
To learn more about eligibly and applying for homeownership through the Methow Housing Trust, visit www.methowhousingtrust.org. For information on renting through Housing Authority of Okanogan County, visit www.okanoganhousing.org.