Where: Yakima, Yakima County, Washington (4th Congressional District)

Problem: Small rural water and wastewater systems struggle to access funding for critical upgrades and replacements of capital infrastructure.

Solution: Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) completed a Median Household Income (MHI) survey to broaden access to funding opportunities.

Yakima, Yakima County, Washington

Sun Country Estates is a mobile home park in Yakima, Washington. The rural community consists of manufactured homes and is located along the Yakima River east of Seattle at the foot of the Cascade Mountain range. Property owners share the costs to maintain, repair and replace property through the homeowner’s association, Sun Country Estates Maintenance Association (SCEMA).

Sun Country Estates’ drinking water distribution system serves 175 parcels, and its lines are old and failing. During one water line break, the entire community went one week without running potable water. As a 90-percent retired, fixed-income community, SCEMA hopes to repair its aging water lines and upgrade its drinking water system without unduly burdening residents. However, existing distribution water lines run under many of the homes located in this community, making repairs and replacement very difficult.

RCAC began working with Sun Country Estates in 2022 at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s request to establish the community’s Median Household Income (MHI) within a limited timeframe. RCAC staff guided the board on how best to encourage community participation in the survey. RCAC mailed out three surveys and tracked responses.

Based on a 76.6-percent response rate, RCAC and SCEMA calculated the community’s MHI at $42,000. With these results, SCEMA has broadened access to funding opportunities to upgrade and repair its drinking water distribution system.


Also in this issue of Network News

RCAC Interview: Helen Price Johnson, Washington USDA Rural Development Director

In this issue, we speak with Helen Price Johnson, USDA RD State Director for Washington. A third-generation small business owner, Helen has worked statewide advocating for rural places and people. Joining USDA in January 2022, she previously served three terms as an Island County Commissioner, is a past president of the Washington State Association of Counties, a two-term member of the South Whidbey School Board and a member of the Board of Directors of the Whidbey Community Foundation. The South Whidbey Record recognized Helen as a Hometown Hero.

Read our interview with Helen Price Johnson