[12/2/21] Affordable Housing Program In Methow Valley

Posted in Community

The Methow Valley Housing Solutions Network is moving to the second phase in its work of developing affordable housing in the valley, creating five subcommittees tasked with drafting a long-term affordable housing plan for the area, pursuing funding, advocating politically for the valley’s housing needs, spreading information to buyers, sellers and real estate agents, and communicating clearly about the housing crisis.

The network includes representatives from organizations including TwispWorks, Room One, the Methow Housing Trust and the Methow Valley Citizens Council.

Sarah Brooks, associate director of Methow Conservancy, which is also part of the network, said at the Housing Trust’s latest meeting that if housing in the Methow Valley is not addressed soon, the valley may be lost.

The network was the “brainchild” of the Methow Housing Trust, The network met with the Methow Housing Perseverance group and SASH, or the Senior Assessment for Support and Housing steering committee, and had workshops with elected officials on a local, county and state level. They also met with elected officials and leaders in similar communities around the state and country.

Danica Ready of the Housing Trust is leading the first subcommittee, tasked with creating a long-term housing plan, and to identify and secure properties now for future affordable housing projects.

The second committee, focused on funding, is led by Sarah Brown, interim director of TwispWorks. That group will focus on grant writing, creating pro-forma “deal sheets” to show developers what might be doable in the county, and reaching out to philanthropists.

Brown said there are some ready investors, that are ready to help invest and make affordable and even market-rate housing available to Methow Valley residents.

Another committee, led by the Citizen Council’s Jasmine Minbashian, will focus on advocating with government organizations. The group could encourage regulation of nightly rentals, which may displace long-term rentals in the community, as well as advocating for public funding.

Brooks will lead the fourth subcommittee, which plans to find funding for a “permit navigator” to guide housing developers through the process, apply the ground lease or resale restriction model to local homes and other projects.

The final subcommittee, chaired by Kelly Edwards of Room One, will focus on communications.

In the next few months, each of the subcommittees will continue to pursue its goals, and the network plans to launch a website, likely accessible through one of the organizations’ websites.