Celebrating the completion of Velocity

A few weeks ago, my colleague, Bob Knox, and I got to enthusiastically ring the Imagine Housing celebration bell to announce the completion of the development of our newest property, Velocity! (See the video below)

The final step to complete the development of a property, from a development perspective, is typically known as conversion. Conversion is when we pay off the remaining construction loan by securing the funds from our lender and all of the remaining equity funds from our equity investment partner.  We were able to complete this final step July 1st.

What makes this final step particularly satisfying is that it occurred several weeks ahead of schedule and right before the July 4th holiday.  We owe a huge thank you to our investor/lender partners (including King County, ARCH and Washington State Department of Commerce) for making this step happen so quickly and of course for their generous support of Velocity and Imagine Housing. Imagine Housing also received the final installments of our cash development fee which will pay for the last four years of hard work and for Imagine Housing assuming the financial risk associated with creating Velocity.

I was fortunate to join Imagine Housing and manage the completion of Velocity and quickly recognized that the new community truly represents the passion and future vision of so many people within our organizations and our Eastside stakeholders. I would like to thank the entire staff and the Boards from our partnering organizations for the roles that they played in making Velocity happen.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to also thank the Imagine Housing staff, board members and community volunteers for their support and help in the development and completion of Velocity. And, of course, our donors and affordable housing advocates – this project wouldn’t have been completed without your support.

We can’t wait to get started on building the next Imagine Housing apartment community!

~ Sibyl Glasby, Director of Housing Development

Watch Sibyl and Bob ring the bell


New Executive Director Announced

We are pleased to inform you that, after an extensive search, we have selected a new Executive Director, Chris Jowell. Chris comes to us from Catholic Housing Service of Western Washington where he was the Housing Development Manager for the last two and a half years. He has invested most of his twenty-year professional career in the housing sector with time spent at Senior Services of Snohomish County, Impact Capital, Snohomish County and Compass Health in Everett where he developed housing for clients experiencing homelessness and chronic mental illness.

In addition to his professional career, Chris serves as a member of the Mercy Housing Board of Directors and has been active in the Housing Consortium of Everett and Snohomish County.

Chris is excited about the opportunity to be a part of the solution to the affordable housing crisis on the Eastside. He said, “Imagine Housing, through its housing and service programs, is making the positive impacts on my community that I want to be a part of. The Executive Director position offers the opportunity to help expand those programs and further Imagine Housing’s ability to assist homeless veterans, seniors and people with low incomes. I have personally experienced the generosity and support offered by the Eastside community. The chance to work with the Imagine Housing team to further this critical role inspired my desire to join their team.”

We are thrilled that Chris accepted the position and believe he will be a fantastic addition to our talented Imagine Housing team. His first day will be August 10th.

On behalf of the rest of the Imagine Housing Board members and staff, I’d like to thank you for your continued support of our organization throughout the search for Imagine Housing’s next Executive Director.

~ Jeff Churchill, Board President


Welcome Bank of America Student Leader, Pearl

Recently, you heard that a Bank of America Student Leader is interning with Imagine Housing. What do teenagers and Bank of America have to do with an amazing nonprofit that provides housing for those in need? (Hint: it doesn’t involve loud party music or business suits) To fully understand the answer, a brief introduction to the Bank of America Student Leaders Program is necessary.

The Bank of America Student Leaders Program was created in 2004 as a way to give young adults an introduction to the workplace, a financial education and an opportunity to further their leadership skills. Each year over 220 students from 40 communities in the U.S. and London are chosen to participate. Once selected, these students are assigned as an intern for a nonprofit and, best of all, receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. for the Bank of America Student Leaders Summit! There, participants will complete service projects, gain leadership training and hold meetings with state legislators.

If you haven’t guessed or inferred it by now, I, Pearl Woo, am one of the lucky 2015 participants!

This year I finally graduated from Kentridge High School down in Kent (cue the confetti gun) and will be attending the University of Washington this fall as a Computer Science Major or pre-med hopeful. The moment I learned that I was accepted to the Bank of America Student Leaders Program, I immediately did a celebratory dance right outside of my classroom. To all the students that had to witness my horrendous dancing skills, I am sincerely, okay sort-of, apologetic. Shortly after, I learned that Imagine Housing would be my internship placement organization, and prepared to trade my summer of being a coach potato to one full of exciting new experiences.

The first time that I met someone from Imagine Housing (Sarah Larson) was during the Bank of America Student Leader Dinner. I recall her telling me about all the wonderful things that Imagine Housing does, as well as what my duties would be as an intern. The more she talked about the summer camps for kids, creating curriculums and advocacy work, the more the stars seemed to be aligned. My passion is advocating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) for children with low-income households as well as for teens in underrepresented groups. Becoming a summer camp leader for Imagine Housing kids is a natural connection to what I have already done for those in my community.

As a 2015 Bank of America Student Leader, I have to say that being chosen to join this program has been amazing. I am so glad that I am able to work with Imagine Housing staff this summer; only two weeks have passed and I am already learning so much! From experiencing first-hand what it is like to be part of a job selection committee, to helping lead summer programs for children, to sitting in on department meetings, Imagine Housing has truly given me the skills and knowledge that I need to become a better leader in my community. Never before had I imagined that I would be helping make homemade Chia pets or hiking down a beautiful leafy path to the neighborhood pool, but now that I have, I can’t imagine spending my summer any other way. The kids are hilarious, the food is delicious and the only coffee poured is for myself: what else could an intern ask for?

~ Pearl Woo, Bank of America Student Leader

Summer Snack Drive

Summer Programs are starting here at Imagine Housing. The sun is out and the kids are ready to have some fun!

Imagine Housing offers summer programming at six of our Eastside communities giving opportunities for youth to engage in a variety of different activities that provide nutrition, education, physical wellness, arts and crafts, and so much more. These programs give the kids in our communities a safe place to go and interact with others their age throughout the summer.

Over the next eight weeks we will be providing the kids participating in programming healthy snacks and lunch. We are working hard to design well balanced meals and snacks that follow our nutrition and wellness plan.

Our Supportive Service’s staff do our best to provide nutritious snacks with a very limited budget, however sometimes we can’t fulfill the amount of snacks needed for the amount of youth served during our summer programs. Currently we are reaching out to anyone interested in helping provide snacks or monetary donations for the youth in our summer programs. If you are interested in donating money for our summer snacks and lunches, please go to www.imaginehousing.thankyou4caring.org and under “Donation Information” choose “Summer Snack Drive”. If you are interested in donating food items, please contact Resident Support Supervisor, Sarah Larson, at sarahl@imaginehousing.org.

Imagine Housing is very thankful for your generosity and kindness supporting our residents and the youth within these local communities.

~ Molly Heine, Resident Support Specialist

Thank you Bellevue Fire Station No. 4

FirehouseKids in Youth Programming at Andrew’s Glen attended their first field trip of 2015 a few weeks ago, taking a trip to Bellevue Fire Station No. 4.

The kids were excited to see what the daily life of a Bellevue Firefighter entails.  The firefighters gave the children a tour of the fire station which included their workout schedule, their living quarters and kitchen.  Additionally, the firefighters showed us the two fire engines and ladder truck which are housed at their fire station.  The kids were able to get a better understanding of what types of emergencies firefighters are called to the scene for – including fires, car accidents, and helping people in the community with daily living.  The firefighters also showed the children the technology on the fire engines.

The most exciting part was when the firefighters demonstrated getting their gear on when they are called out into the community.  They were able to put 75 pounds of gear on in a matter of minutes!

The kids asked many questions and liked the tour they received.  We were proud to be part of our local fire and rescue community for the day.  Special thanks to the firefighters and staff at Bellevue Fire Station No. 4!

~ Amy Vogle, Resident Support Specialist