ABOUT HOMES FIRST
We believe everyone needs a home to be successful. Therefore, it is our mission to create and maintain safe, healthy, and affordable rental homes for those who need them most.
Currently Homes First provides affordable rental housing for 250 tenants in 43 scattered site properties. All of our housing serves households with incomes at or below 50% of the area median income (AMI) with 85% of our tenants living at less than 30% of AMI. Homes First is an Equal Housing Opportunity nonprofit agency.
Homes First is a CHDO Organization.
A “CHDO” (pronounced “CHO-DOE”) is a Community-Based Housing Development Organization–a special status which the government grants to nonprofit community organizations engaged in housing development activities that benefit low and moderate income families. To become a CHDO, an organization must apply to its local city or county government (if the organization is located in an urban area), or the state (if the organization is located in a rural area).
Homes First owns and manages a variety of low-income homes. We have several kinds of living spaces available and they are managed in a variety of ways.
- Project Based Voucher Homes for Families
These scattered site houses and apartment vacancies are applied for through the Housing Authority of Thurston County (www.hatc.org). They manage applications and any wait lists when applicable.
- Non-Subsidized Homes for Families and individuals
These scattered site houses and apartments are managed directly through Homes First who accepts applications for the spaces when available.
- Oxford Houses
Although owned and maintained by Homes First tenant applications are managed through the Oxford House Program www.OxfordHouse.org
- Shared Living for Developmentally Disabled Adults
Although owned & maintained by Homes First tenancy and case management services are provided by four organizations who specialize in working with developmentally disabled adults. Applications for available spaces are managed directly with each social service program.
5. Shared Living for Youth
A partnership with Community Youth Services allows us to move young adults into a safe and healthy home they can afford. When they have a home, they have a better chance of successfully integrating back into our community and receiving the services they need for a healthy future.
6. Shared Living for Mental Health Recovery
A partnership with the Thurston Mason Behavioral Health Organization allows people who are ready to exit Western State Hospital to have a home they can afford and a place to reintegrate into society.
Since 1990, Homes First has successfully created affordable rental housing in Thurston County, WA. In these 29 years, we have helped over 4,500 low and very low income community members find safe, clean, and affordable rental housing with a landlord who treats them with respect.
Income from rents goes to maintain the housing, provide staff oversight, and help fund future affordable housing projects. Our strength is in our partnerships. We work together with local service providers to ensure our tenants receive the supports they need to be successful. We meet our tenants where they are and help them have the financial and emotional space they need to define for themselves what success may look like.
Our business is not all about homes though. Our mission is about people and making the South Puget Sound region a great place to work for everyone. Although we own homes, it is people we truly serve. We need to be prepared to meet the ever growing demand for affordable rental housing. This is not a speculative enterprise but a demand driven response to the need that is shown by state and local entities who track requests for housing. It is also driven by the over 500 requests Homes First turns away every year.
No other organization does what we do. Rather than allowing our mission to creep beyond the original intention of the founders – to provide affordable rental housing – we have partnered with other organizations that complement our programs.
Homes First has been experiencing rapid growth as we build upon existing community housing assets. In 2018 alone, we added 10 new units of housing to our portfolio, two of which were single family homes. Our new tenants were moved directly from a shelter into their own healthy and affordable rental home. We expect to see the same growth in 2019 and for the next several years. Our objective is to make a significant contribution to our region’s basic needs for affordable family homes.
In 2019, our goal is to replicate our success in shared housing programs to provide housing that is both affordable and provides support services/case management using the Housing First model. Housing First is an evidence-based, cost-effective approach to ending homelessness for the most vulnerable and chronically homeless families.
Supportive housing is a combination of housing and services intended as a cost-effective way to help people live more stable, productive lives, and is an active “community services and funding” stream across the United States.
Supportive housing is widely shown to work well for those who face the most complex challenges—individuals and families confronted with homelessness who also have very low incomes and/or serious, persistent issues and serious challenges to a successful life.
Public Review of Documents
Homes First is a public charity, recognized as such by the Internal Revenue Service under section 501(c)(3). As such,Homes First honors all requests for public review and inspection of the following documents:
- Form 990 – Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return*
- Audited Financial Statement
- IRS Determination Letter
Homes First retains the discretion to charge reasonable fees for duplication and/or mailing of any of these documents when such requests are made.
* if applicable