Photo of groundbreaking signs at building site.By Donna Lea Brooks, RCAC RDS – Housing

Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties (HFHSKK) kicked off its new U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA RD) Mutual Self-Help Housing (MSH) project with a groundbreaking celebration in Stewart Meadows, Ellensburg, Washington. Once complete, Stewart Meadows will provide affordable homeownership for 18 families, helping to address the need for sustainable homeownership opportunities for families that are priced out  in Kittitas County, Washington.

Made possible by a partnership between HFHSKK, USDA RD, the City of Ellensburg and Kittitas County, Phase 1 of Stuart Meadows is a Mutual Self-Help development featuring six single family homes, all with three bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms.  All six families are contributing labor to build these homes, with training provided by the Construction Supervisor and the Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties’ Mutual Self Help Technical Assistance Team. Their mutual labor will enable each family to realize the benefit of their hard work over the course of the yearlong construction in the form of “sweat equity,” making their homes affordable.

With average home sale prices in Ellensburg at $456,000 and average income at $46,700, homeownership is increasingly out of reach for many families in the City of Ellensburg. to help address this issue, five years ago Ellensburg passed a one percent sales tax that went directly to fund affordable housing and $765,000 in affordable housing funds for self-help.

The groundbreaking ceremony included representatives from Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties, USDA RD, Ellensburg City Mayor, City Council, and staff, Representative Alex Ybarra and Ruby Gaston with Congresswoman Kim Schrier’s staff and others.

Photo of four people wearing hardhats on building site.
From left to right: USDA Rural Development Washington State Rural Development Office: Laura Brawders, Single Family State Specialist, Trudy Teter, Single Family Housing Program Director, and Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas, Public Funding and Grants Manager Emily Freeborn, and from the USDA Mutual Self Help National Office, Andria Hively, Bureau Chief.

More Affordable Homeownership News from Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittatis Counties:

In July, 2022 Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties and USDA RD partnered again for a USDA Team Mutual Self Help Build Day at Habitat’s Tyler Town homeownership development in North Bend, Washington.

Tyler Town is seven single family homes being built with the mutual self help method of construction.

USDA Team Mutual Self Help Build Day was a success, with USDA staff, Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties volunteering and pitching in to help the partner families build these homes.