I am honored to introduce myself as your new Executive Director of Imagine Housing. I look forward to working with you to deliver Imagine Housing’s mission of developing affordable housing, building welcoming communities and fostering vibrant futures. Imagine Housing offers me the opportunity to continue my work in affordable housing for my neighbors on the Eastside.
The housing affordability gap on the Eastside has widened to an affordability gulf. According to Zumper’s National Rent Report, Bellevue has the highest median rent for a one bedroom apartment in the region at $1,790, with Kirkland ($1,700) and Redmond ($1,450) closely following. This seemingly ever expanding affordability gulf not only disproportionately impacts the poorest households in our community, but is now beginning to price out working families, including essential workers like teachers and service workers that keep the Eastside vibrant.
The good news, and what I find so exciting, is that Imagine Housing is poised to respond to this critical need. As the leading non-profit affordable housing developer on the Eastside, Imagine Housing’s communities serve as a model for the Eastside. Our most recently completed development, Velocity, exemplifies this. Developed in partnership with Polygon Northwest, Velocity delivered 58 affordable apartments as part of a larger mixed-use Transit Oriented Development community located at the South Kirkland Park and Ride.
Imagine Housing’s Strategic Plan calls on us to double the number of units in our portfolio by 2020 – another 500 units! To accomplish this we will need to reach out to the community to develop support and partnerships. This will be no simple task. Only together can we accomplish this task and create an interconnected Eastside, with welcoming communities where all people can live, learn, work and play.
~ Chris Jowell, Executive Director