Affordable housing projects taking shape in Kirkland

Imagine Housing’s Totem Lake Senior Apartments project will provide low-income seniors, 62 years and older, with 95 affordable homes. The project is expected to be complete in 2015.  - Contributed
Imagine Housing’s Totem Lake Senior Apartments project will provide low-income seniors, 62 years and older, with 95 affordable homes. The project is expected to be complete in 2015.
— image credit: Contributed

Although Kirkland is known for having beautiful lakeside mansions, throughout the next few years, Kirklanders can expect a bit more of a balance when it comes to affordable housing.

New homes for youth, families and seniors with low to moderate income are taking shape around Kirkland’s Totem Lake, Kingsgate and Lakeview neighborhoods throughout the next three years.

Nearly all of the projects will provide stable housing for those transitioning out of homelessness.

Homeless Youth Services Campus Project

Friends of Youth organizers will finally hold a grand opening for their new Kirkland Youth Services Center this month. The ribbon cutting and open house will officiate the center, despite its recent opening this past December.

The new youth center is a part of Friends of Youth’s Homeless Youth Services Campus Project and broke ground June 2012 with the remodel of the former Grace Chapel at 13116 N.E. 132nd St.

The Youth Haven building, two homes for five boys and five girls in crisis, broke ground October 2012 on the two-acre parcel and is expected to be complete in the Spring of 2014.

“This new campus will give us the ability to give youth a safe place and brighter future,” said CEO Terry Pottmeyer in a summer news release.

The homes are meant for young adults 18-24 years old who need specialized support for mental health issues or if they have problems maintaining sobriety. The youth may only stay up to 18 months due to the terms of Department of Health and Human Service’s grant for services.

The ARCH Housing executive board recently requested from the city a $240,000 grant and two low-income housing vouchers for the Friends of Youth project.

“Most people I meet don’t quite believe that there are any homeless youth on the Eastside,” said Pottmeyer in a November newsletter. “They’re pretty sure those kids must come here from somewhere else — like Seattle. But I can tell you that every single zip code on the east and north side of the lake is included in the homeless youth we serve.”

Friends of Youth delivers a comprehensive range of therapeutic services for youth, young adults and families. With 60 years of experience, national accreditation and 21 program sites, the agency provides safe places to live and emotional support for youth and families in challenging circumstances across Puget Sound.

South Kirkland Park and Ride apartments

As part of a larger project deemed the Transit Oriented Development, Imagine Housing’s 58 apartment complex is scheduled to break ground in the Lakeview neighborhood during the last few months of 2013 and will be open by December 2014.

The apartments will be for low-income individuals and families with 29 apartments dedicated to households earning 30 percent of the King County area median income or below, or $21,120 for two people; 15 will go toward households earning 40 percent of the area median income, $28,160 for two, and below; and 14 apartments will be dedicated to households earning 60 percent of the area median income, $42,240 for two, or below.

That mix will include 12 apartments dedicated to families transitioning from homelessness and nine that will be set aside for people with disabilities.

“We believe that a community is made stronger when there are housing options for people at all income levels,” said Ann Levine, the Imagine Housing executive director. “The fact is that it is incredibly expensive to live in this community.”

According to a Dupre and Scott Apartment Advisors, Inc. vacancy report, the average rent for a one bedroom apartment in Kirkland is $1,221.

“There are so many jobs on the Eastside - retail, baristas, hair stylists, entry level teachers, hotel staff and many others - that pay far less than what a single parent would need to afford housing on the Eastside, near where the parent works,” Levine said.

As a result, she said this lack of affordable housing in Kirkland and other Eastside cities forces workers to commute long distances between work and home, which is often located in communities they can afford.

“This adds to traffic congestion and family stress,” she said. “By creating affordable housing communities on the Eastside, we make it easier for people to continue working on the Eastside.”

Rent will range from as low as $462 for a studio to $686 for a three bedroom for families with the lowest earnings. Households earning 60 percent of the area median income could pay up to $990 for a one-bedroom apartment. However, all rents are based on income and the size of household.

Studios will be 500 square feet, one bedrooms will be 600 square feet and two and three bedrooms will be 800 square feet.

The bottom floor of the complex will have a media center, library and exercise room and the top floor will offer a community room “to hold supportive service programs for the residents, including after-school activities for kids and life skills training programs for adults,” a community kitchen and an outdoor deck.

Homework clubs, summer camps, trainings and workshops for adults, community meals, yoga classes and other activities and resource referrals will also be available for residents.

Interested individuals and families can begin putting their names on the wait list as early as May 2014 by contacting a representative at FPI Management, Imagine Housing’s third-party management company.

Totem Lake Senior apartments

The Kirkland City Council recently approved a resolution that allocated $300,000 of Kirkland funds from the Fall 2012 ARCH Housing Trust Fund to Imagine Housing’s Totem Lake Senior Apartments project.

Although the funds exceeds the city’s budgeted amount of $291,000, the total includes funds that have been “recaptured” as loan repayments from previous projects, according to city documents.

The senior project will be located near Imagine Housing’s other affordable housing community Francis Village, which was completed in 2011. The senior apartments will break ground at the end of 2014 with expected completion in September 2015.

The project will provide low-income seniors, 62 years and older, with 95 affordable homes.

Fifty-seven units will be available for seniors who earn 50 percent of the area median income, $30,800 for one person; 38 units for seniors who earn 30 percent of the area median income, $18,480 for one person; and 15 units will be dedicated to low income seniors who are transitioning out of homelessness.

“The need for affordable housing for seniors is rising as the population of seniors rises,” said Levine. “…Our two existing senior communities - Ellsworth House in Mercer Island and Kirkland Plaza in Kirkland - have long wait lists and very little turn over.”

Levine said by offering affordable senior housing, seniors are able to age in the community they’ve spent their life in, even on a fixed and limited income.

Rent will range from as low as $462 for a studio, to as high as $990 for a two bedroom. Studios will be 500 square feet, one bedrooms will be 600 square feet and a two bedroom will be 800 square feet.

Although seniors will have access to Francis Village’s services, such as adult classes, trainings, community meals, events and some light case management, the homes are meant to be for independent living and does not provide medical care.

Imagine Housing has received funds from cities all over the Eastside but is still in the process of securing the rest of its funding for the project. Levine said they will request $2.1 million from King County, $2.5 million from the Washington State Housing Trust Fund through the Department of Commerce, $12.5 from low income housing tax credit equity and they hope to secure a private loan of nearly $3 million.

“We are excited to have been awarded funds from the Eastside cities through ARCH to develop this important affordable housing community for seniors,” Levine said.

Interested seniors may put their name on the wait list in February 2015 and should contact a representative at FPI Management to do so.

The Totem Lake Senior Apartments will be Imagine Housing’s 14th affordable housing community on the Eastside.

More information

For more information, contact Imagine Housing at (425) 576-5190 or Friends of Youth at (425) 869-6490.


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