Affordable housing unit breaks ground in Kirkland

St. Andrew’s Housing Group (SAHG), City of Kirkland and King County officials broke ground on Francis Village in the Totem Lake neighborhood on Oct. 15.

St. Andrew’s Housing Group (SAHG), City of Kirkland and King County officials broke ground on Francis Village in the Totem Lake neighborhood on Oct. 15.

The new 60-unit affordable, permanent housing development will provide homes for 60 low income families and individuals, including 45 transitioning out of homelessness. The project, located at 12601 N.E. 124th St. in Kirkland, is scheduled to open by the end of 2011.

During the ceremony, King County Executive Dow Constantine said the 2010 One Night Count of the homeless in King County revealed that more than 1,000 families with children on any given night are without permanent, stable housing.

Francis Village was designed in collaboration with local social service providers and the City of Kirkland. SAHG will partner with many of these local agencies to provide case management, care coordination, life coaching, trainings, referrals, and other support to Francis Village residents. These partners include Congregations for the Homeless, The Sophia Way, Hopelink, Friends of Youth, Eastside Domestic Violence Program, Vets Edge, Sound Mental Health and the YWCA.

One of SAHG’s key goals for this community is to integrate as many sustainable design strategies as possible into Francis Village.

Green aspects of the project include an innovative site storm water system that collects rainwater for use as part of a rain garden, providing an educational opportunity for residents and community members about sustainability. Real time electricity use and cost information will be displayed in each of the units, a strategy that has been shown to reduce overall energy consumption by making residents more conscious of their energy usage.

This new affordable housing community is being made possible through financial support from a variety of local funders which include: A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH) with the support of such Eastside Cities as Kirkland, Bellevue, Sammamish, Redmond, Mercer Island, Issaquah, Newcastle, Kenmore and Clyde Hill, King County, King County Housing Authority, Washington State Department of Commerce’s Housing Trust Fund, Impact Capital, Washington Community Reinvestment Association (WCRA), and the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.

St. Andrew’s Housing Group named Francis Village after Renton resident Jason Francis, a former staff member who lost his brief battle with cancer in early 2010. Francis worked with St. Andrew’s Housing Group from 2003-2007 and wore many hats during his time, serving as volunteer coordinator, director of Fund Development and master of ceremonies for SAHG’s annual auction. Francis led transformative organizational changes, striving to share the vision and impact of SAHG’s work with the community at large.