Like most communities in Washington State, and throughout the country, the City of Yakima does not have an adequate supply of affordable housing to meet the needs of the community. Statewide, over 51% of renters are cost burdened, meaning they pay more than 30% of their income toward housing costs. A family with a full-time worker earning minimum wage cannot afford local fair market rents for a two bedroom unit anywhere in the United States. With vacancy rates at less than 2% in the city, there are no places to house people even if it was affordable.
In a white paper published in March 2019 by the City of Yakima Department of Community Development, reports that the community would need to build 3,300 affordable units of housing to reduce the current cost burden for low income families.
We know that families are cost burdened in our community, but what about the segment of our population who are elderly or disabled and must live on Social Security or Disability Insurance. There are many of these individuals living in our community that can't afford housing or have no families or other types of support systems they can turn to for assistance. Even if rents were affordable, there is a very limited supply of single bedroom units available or vacant in Yakima. These individuals are our neighbors, but they don't live in our neighborhoods, instead they live on our streets, in temporary shelters or are pushed to the outskirts of our community.
It's time to face the issues of homelessness in our community with humanity and compassion and to support creative solutions for housing.
Justice Housing Yakima (JHY) is a nonprofit organization established in 2016 by community members who wish to address the issues of homelessness through the development of affordable, sustainable permanent housing. JHY believes every person needs a home, deserves dignity and respect and a safe and healthy community to live in. To this end, JHY wishes to be a part of the solution by partnering with the community to provide affordable housing to our most vulnerable citizens.
JHY is working on its first housing development, Cottage Hill Village, which will have 30 small cottages providing up to 50 residents with permanent affordable housing within the City of Yakima. Cottage Hill Village will be a gated community that will have the following:
Thirty fully equipped small cottages (200-250 sq. ft.) with bed, shower, kitchenette, storage, and living space for singles or couples.
A community center that will have a community room with kitchen, office, class/meeting rooms for service providers and laundry facilities.
Gated community with onsite staffing, video security and a lighted secure entry for resident safety.
Open green space and areas for gardens, pets and outdoor activities.
A self-governed resident council, opportunities for resident mentoring and community volunteering.
There is a lot more that this unique housing will offer its residents, the neighborhood and the community and we encourage you to visit www.justicehousing.org to learn more.
Phase I of the Cottage Hill Village is to raise $500,000 to complete the purchase and pre-development of property that Justice Housing has secured. To date, JHY has raised $123,859 but needs to raise an additional $376,141 from community members, local businesses and housing advocates like you. Once the land is purchased, we can start moving to phase II, which will be to secure additional state and local funding to build the Village.
You can support Cottage Hill Village in many meaningful ways:
$35 = The cost of one square yard of land
$140 = The cost of one raised flower bed
$875 = The cost of one Tiny Home lot
$9,400 = The cost of land for the Community Building
Thank you for your support!