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For immediate release

For more information contact:
Rhonda Rosenberg, Director of Communications
King County Housing Authority
(206) 574-1185

HUD awards $1.8M grant to King County Housing Authority to build two community centers in Auburn

June 2, 2011

The King County Housing Authority has been awarded $1.8 million to expand community centers at the Firwood Circle and Burndale Homes public housing complexes in Auburn under a Capital Fund Community Facilities (CFCF) grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  This program supports the development of youth education and adult training facilities for public housing residents.

The CFCF program was included in the HUD budget due to the efforts of Sen. Patty Murray.  As a result, KCHA and nine other housing authorities across the country will be able to provide better opportunities and brighter futures for public housing families.

“These two facilities will support programs that help children succeed in school and their parents develop job skills that will make them economically self-sufficient.” said King County Housing Authority Executive Director Stephen Norman.  “Our approach − combining stable, attractive housing with vital human services and improved educational opportunities − ensures that struggling families have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. We are grateful to Sen. Murray for her long-standing commitment to providing resources to ensure that all students get the best education possible.”

KCHA will replace or expand undersized existing facilities at the two properties with larger, energy-efficient community centers that will house classrooms, dedicated computer labs, multipurpose meeting/activity spaces, and private counseling areas. In addition, the new community buildings will be fully accessible for use by disabled clients.

Children from these communities face unique economic and cultural obstacles to achieving educational success. KCHA will be collaborating with Neighborhood House, the Auburn School District, and an array of community-based nonprofit partners to strengthen academic support for these students.

Both facilities will provide after-school programs for children living in the complexes as well as in the surrounding neighborhoods and classrooms for basic adult education and computer literacy instruction.  Neighborhood House will oversee after-school educational programs for youth at Burndale and coordinate with an array of community-based providers to deliver support on-site and connect users into larger off-site systems such as the community college system and the Workforce Development Council.

“Children facing multiple barriers to achieving their full potential should not be turned away from after-school programs simply because there is limited space,” said Mark Okazaki, executive director of Neighborhood House.  “With the renovation and expansion of these two facilities, we’ll be able to improve the educational prospects of children who have not before been able to avail themselves of this kind of assistance.”

Both facilities will partner with Child Care Resources, the Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA), Puget Sound Educational Service District, Green River Community College, the Workforce Development Council, King County Work Training Program, and the YWCA.

The community centers are being designed by ARC Architects.  The current Firwood Circle facility will be renovated and expanded to provide 3,366 square feet of program space with $815,888 in HUD funding.   The new 3,563 square-foot Burndale Homes facility will house community services currently located in a converted residential unit. This project will receive $995,207 of the grant.

Construction will be overseen by the King County Housing Authority and is scheduled to begin this fall.  Each project is expected to employ approximately 40 workers and generate additional economic activity in the Auburn community.

A recent study by the Econsult Corporation measuring the economic impact of construction work on public housing sites nationally concluded that every construction dollar spent generates $2.12 in additional economic activity through wages, purchases of goods and services, and consumer spending by workers.

The Burndale Homes facility will be located at 930 18th Place N.E.   The Firwood Circle facility is located at Firwood Circle facility is located at 314 37th St. N.E. Both sites are 50-family complexes owned and managed by the King County Housing Authority.

KCHA administers a range of quality affordable rental and homeownership programs in the Puget Sound region.  The Authority serves about 18,000 families and elderly and disabled households on a daily basis.

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