Imagine Housing Executive Director Villette Nolon speaks at an Affordable Housing Week event at Velocity Apartments in Kirkland. CATHERINE KRUMMEY / Kirkland Reporter

Local leaders give update on affordable housing

To celebrate Affordable Housing Week (AHW, May 15-22) in Kirkland, King County and beyond, Imagine Housing hosted a panel of local leaders to talk about their efforts in bringing affordable housing to the area.

“We are so fortunate to have such strong, passionate leaders in our community,” Imagine Housing Operations Coordinator Kathryn Jacoby said.

The event was held at Velocity Apartments, a building next to the South Kirkland Park and Ride that has 58 affordable housing units, including 24 for people who are homeless.

Kirkland Housing Advisory Group chair Dawn Nelson, 48th District Rep. Joan McBride, King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci and Bellevue City Councilmember Lynne Robinson all spoke to those in attendance about things they’ve done and are doing to promote more affordable housing in the region.

“This is one of the biggest, most seminal issues of our time, especially in this region,” Balducci said, adding the affordability of housing has had a downward spiral of effects on the area, most noticeably in the buildup of traffic by people who can’t afford to live near where they work.

They all spoke of the importance of partnerships between different jurisdictions, nonprofits and other groups as key to solving the area’s homelessness crisis.

“We have had some amazing partnerships with agencies including Imagine Housing,” Robinson said.

Nelson shared how Kirkland works with nonprofits who are working on affordable housing, including waiving impact fees. She said the housing advisory group is new for the city.

“We’re at the beginning of our process,” she said. “We’re coming up with a list of ideas and strategies to get housing for everyone.”

She said the advisory group will be holding community workshops, open houses and online surveys to gather citizen input as it moves forward.

Balducci said the county has also recently formed a regional affordable housing task force and will be working on gathering input just as the Kirkland group plans to do.

At the state level, McBride spoke about a variety of bills she’s working on to make sure affordable housing is addressed.

“These bills together can make a sea change,” she said. “We can’t just wish ourselves out of this.”

The speakers discussed the proposed men’s shelter that’s planned for Bellevue and the shelter for women and families that’s being proposed in Kirkland.

While plans are moving along for Kirkland’s shelter, some Bellevue residents have voiced concern about placing a shelter in their city. At the AHW event, Robinson encouraged those who support the shelter to raise their voices as well.

All of the panelists and Imagine Housing staff at the event encouraged those in attendance to take action to support affordable housing needs in the area.

“It’s not just up to our local officials to address the issues of housing and homelessness — it’s up to everyone here,” Jacoby said.

Rep. Joan McBride speaks at an Affordable Housing Week event at Velocity Apartments in Kirkland. CATHERINE KRUMMEY / Kirkland Reporter

King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci speaks at an Affordable Housing Week event at Velocity Apartments in Kirkland. CATHERINE KRUMMEY / Kirkland Reporter

Dawn Nelson, chair of the Kirkland Housing Advisory Group, speaks at an Affordable Housing Week event at Velocity Apartments in Kirkland. CATHERINE KRUMMEY / Kirkland Reporter

Bellevue City Councilmember Lynne Robinson speaks at an Affordable Housing Week event at Velocity Apartments in Kirkland. CATHERINE KRUMMEY / Kirkland Reporter

More in News

Bill targets sexual health curriculum in Washington schools

Senate Bill 5395 is co-sponsored by 17 Democratic representatives and introduced by Sen. Claire Wilson, D-Federal Way.

According to King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) annual report, Seattle had the highest rate of people using services at 36 percent of the total, followed by 31 percent from South King County, 18 percent from the greater Eastside, and 7 percent from north county including Shoreline.
Study shows King County’s treatment funding is making progress

A document on the county’s .1 percent health sales tax was accepted Wednesday by the county council.

Children’s play area at Seadrunar. Photo by Lauren Davis via Facebook
Seedy side of Seadrunar: Drug rehab center accused of neglect, exploitation

Public records reveal that Seattle facility was accused of neglecting children and clients in its care.

Southbound traffic backs up as northbound drivers cruise on with ease on the Highway 99 viaduct on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
WSDOT hopes ‘Viadoom’ habits continue

The department credits commuters with adapting to the closure and mitigating impacts.

New Friends of Youth CEO, Paul Lwali, will replace Terry Pottmeyer. Courtesy photo.
Friends of Youth hires new CEO

Pottmeyer steps down; Lwali becomes new Friends of Youth CEO.

Russell Wilson and Ciara spoke Friday at the Tukwila Library to Foster students and other attendees as their Why Not You Foundation joined forces with the King County Library System and JPMorgan Chase to launch the DREAM BIG: Anything is Possible campaign. Photo by Kayse Angel
Russell Wilson and Ciara launch DREAM BIG campaign

Partnership with King County libraries dovetails with scholarship program for local students.

Somali community faces SeaTac displacement

Proposed redevelopment threatens the heart of the Somali business community.

One of the ‘snowiest’ months on record

Citizens fled to stores to stock up on needed supplies; City staff worked to keep roads clear.

Kirkland City Council to interview five finalists for vacancy

Neal Black, Uzma Butte, Kelli Curtis, Amy Falcone and Sue Keller were selected.

Most Read