Larsen works for housing funds

MARYSVILLE – Congressman Rick Larsen is concerned. The Arlington Democrat is worried that programs such as Housing Hope’s could face budget cuts or even elimination under the current administration.

Housing Hope helps get folks off the streets with three programs in Marysville that provide housing for low-income people. It also provides classes for those residents to learn life skills.

Larsen was in town recently to get evidence about how important these programs are to take back to D.C. He talked with Bobby Thompson, Lewis Pounds and Elizabeth Kohl, all of Housing Hope, at one of its facilities, the Beachwood Apartments, which are 20-years-old.

Kohl gave Larsen a success story about a man with autism. “When we started he was afraid to talk,” she said, adding his goal was to drive for the post office. After working with Housing Hope programs and learning to cook, parent and manage money, he was able to get a job at an AM-PM. Now he drives for them, she said. Kohl said the classes help clients learn to interact and develop social skills. Of the Beachwood Apartments, Thompson said it has a good chance of getting up to a $1.75 million grant to give the entire place a facelift. They will find out in September. All 25 units would get a makeover inside and out. And the common area would be much improved with an interactive play area and barbecues to try to encourage the 100 residents to bond more as a community.

Some of the families that are more stable financially move on to live in the 14 Park Place townhouses near Marysville Middle School that are 2-3 bedrooms.

”The residents are more engaged” there, Kohl said.

The most financially challenged group is at the new Twin Lakes Landing. “We’re trying to change their mindset there,” Kohl said. “We want them to care for the building and create a community.”

They said in the next five years, Housing Hope would like to build another 50 to 75 units in that area.

Thompson said many residents there receive mental health services. “It makes our job more challenging,” he said.

Pounds said the community there has come together. A homeless encampment is nearby so they have developed a watch group to make sure nothing is stolen. “They live in and take pride in their community,” he said.

Pounds said many residents there are in recovery programs, so they support each other.

“They bond with each other,” Thompson added, saying there’s also a domestic violence support group there.

Even the kids have bonded. They have been drawn into a part of the commons that has turned into a homework area.

Pounds said Housing Hope serves clients depending where they are on their journey. “We serve them where they’re at,” he said.

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