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For immediate release

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

Kings Court Family Support Center Expansion Completed

Community celebration held Jan. 15; programs start this week

Jan. 20, 2010 — Federal Way

The King County Housing Authority, Federal Way city officials and Federal Way Youth & Family Services staff gathered with residents of Kings Court on Jan. 15 to celebrate the completion of a $360,000 renovation of its community center.   

“Today we celebrate this beautiful facility where our children will have the opportunity to bloom scholastically, creatively, and socially,” Dan Watson, deputy executive director of the King County Housing Authority, said. “With the expansion of the Family Support Center, the Authority is providing a setting that helps children succeed in school and their  parents develop job skills that will make them economically self-sufficient. Our approach — combining stable, attractive housing with vital human services – ensures that struggling families have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.”

The renovation more than doubled the size of the original center to 1,800 square feet, adding a computer lab, a classroom, a second bathroom, and storage space.  The building has been wired for Internet access and cable television.  A high efficiency radiant heat system and lighting fixtures will reduce energy costs.  Art display areas and a remodeled kitchen were included in the renovation.

The expanded facility is a big improvement for the Federal Way Youth & Family Services programs that will operate there, beginning Jan. 18. The enlarged facility will allow the organization to offer a long list of activities and programs, including computer labs, a literacy program for students, a homework club, and a free summer lunch program for low-income youth. Recreational opportunities will include movie nights, barbecues, family nights at the center, and off-site field trips. Adults will be able to participate in parenting classes, computer instruction, English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction, and other classes to assist the family with skills in managing the household.

“The larger space allows us to offer more programs and services to more people,” said  Nikole Penman, director of Federal Way Youth & Family Services, a division of Valley Cities Counseling and Consultation. “Parents can work to improve language, computer, employment, and parenting skills, while youth can get homework assistance, learn leadership skills, and socialize in a safe setting.”

The renovation project also includes a generator that can power the center as a “warm house” during power outages and emergency situations.  “Federal Way is glad to have been able to assist with the much-needed improvements to the facility,” said Federal Way Mayor Linda Kochmar.  “In addition to helping families succeed as part of its normal course of operations, the Family Support Center can also be used to shelter people when disasters or temporary power outages occur.”  Federal Way allocated $120,000 to the project from its share of the King County Community Block Grant Program.

Veronica Bucio and Sherry Zamudio are both residents at Kings Court.

Bucio, who has four children aged 1 to 9 years, is delighted by the opportunities the Family Support Center offers.  “It’s exciting for my kids to have a place to go and not be in the streets,” Bucio said.  “It’s great knowing they are in a safe place.”

Zamudio thinks the renovated center will be a great resource for adults as well as children, particularly because of its computer lab and classes. Said Zamudio, “I have a computer at home, but I don’t know how to use it. I so want to learn.”

The renovated facility was designed by James Guerrero Architects, Inc., and construction was overseen by the King County Housing Authority.  Old World Construction was the general contractor.  It replaces a small, outdated building comprised of a single multipurpose room with one bathroom and a kitchen.   It is located in the Kings Court apartment complex at South 333rd Street and 22nd Lane South, a 30-unit public housing development owned and managed by the King County Housing Authority. The expanded center will also be open to the residents of Evergreen Court, a nearby 30-unit public housing development, and to Federal Way residents participating the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program.

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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