A New Affordable Housing Neighborhood is Coming. Welcome Home!

Ellensburg City Council Approves Funding for New Water Bender Habitat Project

We are excited about the recent funding we received from the City’s Affordable Housing Fund and eager to bring more affordable housing directly to Kittitas County. The project represents a milestone in the organizations history as we embark on a new chapter as part of our joint efforts with our sister affiliate, Seattle-King County Habitat for Humanity.

The proposal was our first as part of our new strategic partnership with SKC Habitat for Humanity, and really speaks to what we can accomplish together for the hard working families in Kittitas County.

The project, located at 113 W. Bender Road, is expected to break ground in the summer of 2021. It will consist of 18 new homes serving a range of household sizes with all homes sold to those making less than 80% average median income (AMI), with three of the homes reserved for those making 60% AMI or less.

When completed, each of the 18 units will offer three bedrooms and 1- 1/2 bathrooms, allowing for flexibility in buyer needs for multi-generational families, couples, as well as accommodating small and large families.

The properties will be placed in Habitat’s Land Trust, ensuring permanent affordability for future generations and families. Through this 99-year renewable, inheritable lease that includes resale restrictions and a resale formula, this allows for equity creation that provides the owner an average of $48,300 in equity creation, based on past land trust resale properties.

We will utilize in-kind contributions for the project including donated appliances, paint, house wrap, and foam board as provided by a large-scale partnership Habitat for Humanity International provides to Kittitas County. Volunteer labor will be a large part of this project so stay tuned for more information on how you can get involved.

Information on the homeowner application process is available on buyhabitat.org and we will be contacting interested families by April 2021.

We hope you’ll join us for the groundbreaking celebration this summer and we will have more exciting details to come!

Building the Beloved Community

Next week we celebrate the birthday of Dr. King. 

We celebrate his work, and his unshakable love for his fellow human beings. It reminds me, that here, in Kittitas County, our strength lies in the wonderful people and our shared love of our communities.  

Together, we have always found ways to celebrate our triumphs, encouraged all creative aspects of life and thinking, and we are quick to come together to help a neighbor through a tough time. We look out for each other because it is the right thing to do, it is the decent thing to do. 

As we celebrate a man who believed in building a beloved community of justice, of equal opportunity, and for a world that left no room for poverty, prejudice or violence, consider joining us in committing to build a beloved Community. 

Let us come together and build a beloved community of hope and understanding. A community based on helping others, working with our neighbor to create strength, stability, and self-reliance for all. 

Kelle Vandenberg, Area Director

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

Homeowner-on site

In this challenging year, the word home has come to mean more than in the past. Home has become our office, our classroom, our workspace, our meeting room, our doctor’s office, our safe space, our sanctuary. While there is much in the world that is uncertain, we have the safety of our home, it’s conveniences, and it’s protection. 

But not everyone does. This year’s unprecedented challenges have put the dream of home ownership further out of reach as hard working families struggle to survive the ongoing trials of today’s reality. Affordable housing in Kittitas County was at a crisis level prior to Covid-19, with an estimated 29,246 housing units listed, only 518 are low-income or affordable housing. There are simply not enough options for affordable housing in the county. 

We have work to do. 

Why It Matters?

Being born into poverty, I struggled to understand why I should want to own a home. I did not understand what it would mean for my children, for our lives together, for their health and overall well-being. I spent years telling myself I didn’t want to be tied down with all of that, I was free to move around, which we did a lot, because that is what I knew. I grew up very poor. My mom was a single mom with five kids who had to move us around a lot. She worked two jobs, and grew too old, too fast. My background is common, too common, too normal. 

I grew up to be a single mom with three kids, who moved her kids around a lot. The pattern was repeating and had to fight to break the cycle of poverty and build a different life for my children. It doesn’t matter if you are wealthy or poor, we all want a better life for our kids. 

I am passionate about bringing home ownership to those who dream of something more, who dream of a better life, who know that they can do it, with just a little help from someone like me, from someone like you. 

Homeownership transforms lives. When families move out of substandard or vulnerable housing and into a simple, decent, affordable home that they own, families frequently improve their health, educational attainment and safety. We see increases in graduation rates, children’s physical and mental health, and the families overall net income and weath. What we also see is a decrease in children’s behavioral problems, reliance on government assistance, and a significant decrease in asthma and other health conditions. 

In 2021, we pledge to do all that we can to help build more affordable housing in Kittitas County, will you help us?

Meet Habitat Development Assistant Tammy Tyler

“If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.”

William H. McRaven

We all have those people in our lives that become the glue that just helps hold things together. That is the role that Tammy Tyler fills for Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity. She is the quiet strength that has carried us through during this challenging year or more. 

I have seen her go out of her way to help anyone in need. It is a small community, and we get a lot of calls from people around the county who need help. Even if it is not something that falls within the traditional Habitat frame, Tammy will take the time to find resources that will be able to help—that is just who she is. 

When I first started here at Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity, I knew right away I had a fantastic co-worker in Tammy. Her energy and skill level work well with my own and she has a gift for figuring things out and discovery. As we look to KC Habitat goals for the future and helping build communities, it only made sense to put the right people in the right positions to help us get there. 

To that end, I am pleased to announce the promotion of Tammy Tyler to Development Assistant for Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity and I look forward to watching her thrive and grow, helping even more people along the way. 

Kelle Vandenberg
Area Director 
Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity