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Unique Partnership Addresses Poverty and Affordable Housing Crises in North King County
Shoreline, Wash — Feb. 17, 2017— Ronald Commons, an innovative and comprehensive approach to helping North King County’s homeless and low-income residents gain stability and a pathway out of poverty, has opened its doors in Shoreline. Through a unique partnership between three local organizations with deep roots in the community, Ronald Commons offers 60 affordable apartments to formerly homeless and low-income individuals and families, including formerly homeless veterans and families with a developmentally disabled member. Ronald Commons also offers residents and the broader community access to critical support services, including a “grocery-style” food bank, family services, financial education and assistance.
The region is facing a dual challenge: the shortage of affordable housing and an escalating homelessness crisis. At the same time, people who are in crisis are looking for support and stability. Ronald Commons is a direct response to these pressing needs.
Residents have begun moving into the newly available units and more than 300 people, including local community leaders, attended a grand opening ceremony held today, Feb. 17. Ronald Commons, which is a collaboration between Compass Housing Alliance, Hopelink and Ronald United Methodist Church, is located adjacent to Ronald United Methodist Church located at 17837 Aurora Avenue N. in Shoreline.
“This is our first permanent housing facility in Shoreline and Compass Housing Alliance is building on nearly 100 years of experience providing shelter, housing and people-centered support services to homeless and low-income individuals,” said Janet Pope, executive director of Compass Housing Alliance. “Our goal has always been to provide meaningful solutions to those who need it and we recognize that it is critical that organizations collaborate. That is why we are proud to work with our partners HopeLink and Ronald United Methodist Church. Ronald Commons is one of over 20 locations where we are serving a vulnerable population and it accelerates access to much-needed affordable housing today while creating the vibrant community we want for tomorrow.”
The 60 units of affordable housing is owned and operated by Compass Housing Alliance, and includes 12 units for veterans and their families. Half of the units are being rented to households who earn 30 percent or below the King County area median income. The other half are being rented to households earning 50 percent or less.
Ronald Commons also includes a new 12,000-square-foot integrated service center, owned and operated by Hopelink, which started serving clients Feb. 7. In addition to a food bank, Hopelink provides a full array of support programs to help stabilize clients who are in crisis, and then provide them with the tools needed to exit poverty on a permanent basis—including adult education, career and family development, energy assistance and financial planning.
Hopelink CEO Lauren Thomas said the new facility is part of a “vibrant, cohesive, responsive new approach to helping our low-income neighbors.”
“I had a chance to walk through the new food bank last week, and it was so exciting to see it filled with our clients,” Thomas said. “Not only is this center much larger than our previous location in Shoreline—with added services to help clients—but the food bank is more user-friendly, with three times the number of hours available to visit.”
Thomas said for the first time ever in Shoreline, food bank clients will be able to “shop” as if they are in a regular grocery store. “That’s significant for so many reasons. They’ll be able to take their time reading labels and choosing exactly the foods that are right for their families,” she explained and added that by 2020, the new Hopelink Shoreline center will provide food and comprehensive support services to about 2,500 members of the community every year, providing stability and a path out of poverty.
The new, larger Ronald Commons site replaces the Shoreline Hopelink center that has occupied a leased space at Aurora Square since 2006.
The new development was constructed on land previously owned by Ronald United Methodist Church, and Pastor Kelly Dahlman-Oeth said he is looking toward building a community “where all are welcome.”
"As a church in the heart of the community of Shoreline, we take seriously our responsibility to be a heart in the community,” Dahlman-Oeth said. “We are eager to meet our neighbors, and to build relationships with them that we might learn together, grow together and continue to make our community a place where all are welcome."
Founded in 1920, Compass Housing Alliance (CHA) is an established provider of emergency shelter, housing, and support services to homeless and low-income individuals. CHA is a housing expert providing transitional, permanent and low-income housing, serving families, women, veterans, and individuals in need. CHA touches the lives of over 10,000 annually through 28 locations throughout the Puget Sound region. www.compasshousingalliance.org
Since 1971, Hopelink has helped more than 1,000,000 people in communities throughout north and east King County. Through transportation services and programs designed to help low-income individuals and households, Hopelink continues to help more than 60,000 people each year to find stability and to become equipped to exit poverty. Hopelink’s programs include: food, housing, Ronald United Methodist Church adult-education, transportation, energy, financial assistance and employment services. www.hopelink.org
Ronald United Methodist Church is a diverse, faithful, active community of service, hospitality and hope. The church began in 1906 as a Sunday School, meeting in what was then known as the Ronald Schoolhouse. Later, Ronald was chartered as a United Methodist Church. From that small Sunday School, Ronald has grown into a diverse and vibrant faith community, representing many cultures, including Filipino, African, Caribbean, Japanese, Hispanic, and South American. www.ronaldumc.us