As the Office Manager for Imagine Housing, I receive four to five calls every day from people who are desperate for housing. Sometimes they are calling to find a place for their mother who is widowed and on social security, or perhaps for their disabled son. Sometimes they are calling for themselves and need to find a place by the end of the month or they will be on the streets. One time I had a mom with three kids in tow show up at the office, needing a place to stay that night because she was fleeing an abusive husband. It is hard to tell them that we don’t place people into housing from this office. I give them the list of property managers so that they can contact them directly to find out about vacancies, the application process and the wait lists. I try to refer them to the website to access this information. I tell them they can see photographs of our communities there. Sometimes they do not have access to a computer, so I give them phone numbers over the phone. I also have put together a packet of information that includes other housing resources across King County, like emergency shelters or transitional housing. I mail this packet to those who do not have access to a computer but do have a mailing address.
The need for affordable housing is great and we can hardly build quickly enough to meet that need. We just opened Andrew’s Glen and Francis Village and the waitlist for each is over a year long. Our two senior properties have waitlists that are several years long. It is wonderful that, thanks to Eric Evans, Director of Housing Development, we have more communities being planned and developed. Eric works closely with Rachel Mathison, Director of Supportive Services, to make sure the buildings are designed with our residents in mind, including community spaces such as kitchens, multi-purpose rooms and rooftop gardens. He also works closely with Suzanne Koval, Director of Asset Management, to make sure the buildings are as low maintenance and sustainable as possible, without sacrificing beauty or function.
I am thankful we at Imagine Housing are working together to develop more affordable housing with supportive services on King County’s Eastside because the need is great.