‘Build Belonging’ campaign goes through May
The Methow Housing Trust is this week launching the public phase of a capital fundraising campaign aimed at accelerating the organization’s mission of providing a range of affordable housing options for valley residents.
The “Build Belonging” campaign will continue through Memorial Day weekend. Housing Trust Executive Director Danica Ready said in an interview last week that while the organization has been able to build homes in several valley neighborhoods the past few years, the need for a more-substantial financial foundation has been clear if expansion is to continue.
“We’ve known that it [a capital campaign] was coming for a long time,” Ready said of the organization’s staff and board. “We want to double production. The housing crisis has come to a crescendo.”
The “quiet” part of the capital campaign has been going on for several months, as the Housing Trust privately solicited the support of about 50 “foundational” donors who contributed funds to launch the effort.
To learn more about contributing to the Methow Housing Trust capital campaign, visit https://methowhousingtrust.org/build-belonging.
Housing Trust projects
The Methow Housing Trust, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, was formed in 2017 to address the need of affordable housing for valley residents. Here’s an overview of its work so far in several Methow Valley neighborhoods.
• Canyon Street, Twisp: 3.25 acres, 13 homes of 2-3 bedrooms. Completed.
• McKinney Ridge, Mazama: 8 homes of 2-3 bedrooms. Completed.
• Cascade Meadows South, Winthrop: 5 homes of 1-3 bedrooms to close in May 2022; more homes in development.
• Cascade Meadows North, Winthrop: 8 acres, 26 homes of 1-3 bedrooms, 22 rental units of 1-3 bedrooms, in development.
To learn more about eligibly and applying for homeownership through the Methow Housing Trust, visit www.methowhousingtrust.org. For information on renting through the Housing Authority of Okanogan County, visit www.okanoganhousing.org.
No set goal
“The goal of this campaign is simple,” the Housing Trust said in a press release. “Let’s all do what we can today, to ensure that every person, at every income level, knows we all truly belong here by increasing access to stable, quality housing.”
Ready said the Housing Trust did not set a goal for donations, and is instead is looking to the community to demonstrate its spontaneous support for the organization’s efforts. “We didn’t want to put a cap on it,” Ready said.
“We don’t feel like this is a traditional campaign,” Ready added, but rather “mostly about come one, come all” as the community’s response to what she called a “sense of loss of belonging” because of the valley’s housing crisis.
“Basically, we [the Housing Trust] can do as much as the community can support,” Ready said. “Let’s see what we can do.”
A major incentive to be supported by the capital campaign is land acquisition. “We can’t wait. We need to secure it,” Ready said.
Ready said that the Housing Trust will look at property options throughout the valley, but the availability of water is a major consideration — which is why most of the organization’s building has taken place in Twisp and Winthrop so far. Other property in Twisp is currently under consideration, Ready said.
Thanks to the Housing Trust’s partnership with the Housing Authority of Okanogan County, about 80 permanently affordable housing units (including rentals in a partnership with the Housing Authority) will be added to the local housing stock over the next five years, counting those already completed. Currently there are more than 50 qualified households waiting for a Housing Trust home, and the wait-pool grows an average 10-15 families per year.
Capital campaign proceeds will also be used to leverage partnerships in the community, such as that with the Housing Authority.
“We don’t have to tell our community how acute and dramatic the housing crisis has become over the past two years. We all feel the gravity of the local housing market changes, and have friends who struggle to find or afford a reasonable place to live,” Ready said in the press release. “We’ve watched our local businesses reduce their hours, or even close, for lack of workers who can afford to live here. And yet, we are making progress, like few communities could, because our community character is premised on generosity, civic engagement and taking the long-view.”