FROM: Sandra Lynch Holmes Mary Martin
Habitat for Humanity Seattle/South King County Habitat for Humanity East King County
Two Habitat for Humanity affiliates plan merger to serve all of King County
April 25, 2012- The boards of directors of Habitat for Humanity of Seattle/South King County and Habitat for Humanity of East King County have committed to move forward to combine the affiliates to serve all of King County.
The boards voted separately after receiving a report from a task force that explored the advantages and challenges of combining operations. If the process proceeds as expected, a formal merger agreement would result in about 90 days. In the meantime, each affiliate will continue its normal operations.
"This is a significant step. The boards concluded that by merging the affiliates Habitat could be more effective in providing affordable homeownership to more families in King County," said Marty Kooistra, chief executive officer of the Seattle/South King County affiliate.
A merged affiliate would continue to offer homeownership possibilities to families living on 25 to 60 percent of the median income for King County. Those families must agree to partner with Habitat, invest sweat equity in their own and other Habitat homes and be able to make payments on a no-interest, 30-year mortgage.
As recently as 2009, one-fourth of King County’s work force could not afford to live in the county, and roughly half of all renters could not afford the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment. More than 50,000 very low-income households paid more than 30 percent of their monthly income for housing.
"Housing affordability remains a big issue in King County," said Tom Granger, executive director of the East King County affiliate. "The economies and combined resources of a merger will allow us to do more, and we will have a stronger voice advocating for affordable housing."
The affiliates expect the merger to have a positive impact on their current mission or their strategic partners, though some changes are likely before a merger is formalized.
Habitat for Humanity of Seattle was founded in 1986 and merged with the South King County affiliate in 2003. The East King County affiliate was founded in 1988.