New co-op opens door for poor families

By SHARON SALYER

Herald Writer

Snohomish County’s newest co-op has no bulk foods, organic vegetables or rows of vitamin supplements.

Instead, what is being called the first housing development of its kind in the county is an innovative way to allow renters more say-so in managing the development.

Oakes Avenue Commons is a 20-unit cooperative apartment development opening later this week on the corner of 32nd Street and Oakes Avenue in downtown Everett. An open house is scheduled Friday.

The apartments, paid for through a combination of city, county and state grants and a federal tax credit, is the latest project by Housing Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing low-income and affordable housing in Snohomish County.

Renters, or members as the residents will be called, eventually will have a role in managing the $2.3 million development, including its $100,000 annual budget, said Ed Petersen, Housing Hope’s executive director.

"They will be deciding whether an outside management agency is retained to do repairs and grounds upkeep or the co-op does it and thereby saves expenses," he said.

The tradeoffs: Doing the tasks themselves would reduce costs and help stabilize rent prices, while contracting for the services would be mean fewer hassles but would cost more.

Housing Hope staff members have drafted the co-op’s initial budget, Petersen said. "Come January, (members) will start to be much more involved.

"Part of our challenge is to teach them what’s involved in the decision-making process," he said, everything from how to read legal documents to organizing meetings and resolving conflicts.

"We reassured them we would provide them with the mentoring they need and would ease into this," Petersen said. "They won’t have responsibility they can’t handle."

To help with the transition, a Housing Hope staffer will be assigned to the development so members have a designated person to turn to when problems arise.

"What we’re trying to accomplish is a solution to homelessness," Petersen said. "The more they have these (management) kind of skills, the more they can negotiate their personal affairs and maintain their housing stability and never become homeless."

Members also will screen new members of the cooperative as turnover occurs.

To live in the apartments, the annual income for a family of four cannot exceed $19,750, Petersen said. Rents for a two-bedroom apartment will be $362 a month and $410 for a three-bedroom unit, about half of current market rates.

"It’s clearly designed to be affordable to that very low-income threshold," he said.

The organization decided to test the cooperative method of managing as part of its dedication to helping people move from homeless shelters to "their optimum level of independent housing," Petersen said.

"Part of our values is people should have some say-so, involvement, control and sense of ownership in their living environment," he said.

Once members are accepted into the co-op, they can stay as long as they like, even if their incomes rise.

"We’re trying to help people pull themselves up," Petersen said. "We don’t want to penalize them for making progress toward that."

You can call Herald Writer Sharon Salyer at 425-339-3486or send e-mail to

salyer@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road on Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Long live the Speedway! Mukilteo’s main drag won’t be renamed

The public shot down the mayor’s idea to change the name: 77% voted ‘No’ in an online survey, with 95% opposed on Facebook.

Everett
Motorcyclist dies in crash on East Marine View Drive in Everett

Around 8 p.m. Tuesday, a motorcycle and a vehicle crashed into each other at the intersection of 11th street and East Marine View Drive.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Darrington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist dies in crash on Highway 530

Jeremy Doyle, 46, was riding east near Darrington when he crashed into the side of a car that was turning left.

The Marysville School District office on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘Financially insolvent’ Marysville schools to get unprecedented oversight

Superintendent Chris Reykdal will convene a first-of-its-kind Financial Oversight Committee, he wrote in a letter Tuesday.

Woodside Elementary Principal Betty Cobbs on Monday, June 17, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett’s first Black principal retires after 51 years

In her office, Betty Cobbs kept a black-and-white photo of herself at age 5: “I am right there, with dreams of becoming an educator.”

Junelle Lewis, right, daughter Tamara Grigsby and son Jayden Hill sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” during Monroe’s Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 18, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
On Juneteenth: ‘We can always say that there is hope’

The Snohomish County NAACP is co-sponsoring a celebration Saturday near Snohomish, with speakers, music and food.

Granite Falls
Man, 35, dies from heart attack while hiking Lake 22

The man suffered a heart attack about 1½ miles into the 6-mile hike east of Granite Falls on Friday, authorities said.

36 hours after final show, Everett radio host Charlye Parker, 80, dies

When Parker got into radio, she was a rarity: a woman in a DJ booth. For the past 12 years, she hosted weekend country music shows at KXA.

Dr. Scott Macfee and Dr. Daniel Goodman outside of the Community Health Center on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett CHC doctors, feeling like ‘commodities,’ speak up on ailing system

At the Community Health Center of Snohomish County, doctors say they feel like “rats getting off a sinking ship.” They want it to get better.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Man charged with shooting at ex-girlfriend, child in Mountlake Terrace

The man, 21, showed up to his ex-girlfriend’s apartment and opened fire through the door, new court records say.

People walk along Olympic Avenue past Lifeway Cafe and Olympic Theater that currently hosts Lifeway Church on Friday, July 7, 2023 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Arlington churches waged covert ‘battle’ against Pride event, records show

Sermons, emails and interviews reveal how an LGBTQ+ nonprofit became the target of a covert campaign by local evangelical leaders.

Drive-in movies are coming to the north Island. (Port of Everett image)
Where to catch outdoor movies this summer in Snohomish County

Bring a chair, blanket and the kids for a cinema night under the stars with your favorite movies, including “Barbie” and “Trolls.”

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.