Volunteers start work on Habitat project in Sammamish

Meet Jamal Sadiq.

The 33-year-old has a wife and three small children. They currently live in Seattle, but thanks to a Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County project, they’ll soon be Sammamish residents.

“I am very happy,” he said. “I cannot wait to live here.”

Sadiq, putting in his sweat equity, joined several other volunteers on May 11 for Women’s Build Week at the site located off of 228th Avenue Southeast, near Southeast 20th Street.

The project, which originally broke ground in July 2015, will feature 10 cottage homes and three rain gardens. The homes will all face inward to create that community feel, Habitat and AmeriCorps member Alexis Lorenz said.

The homes, located on a 1.47-acre lot, will be around 1,200 square feet.

On May 11 volunteers were working on retaining walls that will go between each home. The Habitat project aims to provide low-income housing for families, who want to be homeowners, but whose annual income is around $40,000.

“We really serve the lower end of the spectrum,” Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County CEO Gail Luxenberg said.

The average home price on the Eastside in King County is $772,000, according to the Habitat for Humanity.

“In Sammamish, almost 74 percent of households earn $100,000 or more (one of the highest rates in the nation), and home values have gone up 9.3 percent over the past year,” according to the Habitat for Humanity. “The nearest low-income apartment property has a waitlist two to five years long. On their own, lower-income households — including many teachers, police, firefighters and clergy — simply can’t afford to live on the Eastside.”

To qualify for a Habitat home, residents must also have a certain credit score. When Sadiq first applied in 2014, his credit wasn’t good enough to qualify him for the home.

The resident must also put in 250 hours of sweat equity, putting in labor on site like Sadiq or working in one of Habitat’s offices or stores.

They must also be able to pay a mortgage. The mortgage length is dependant on income. Habitat adjusts the mortgage to 30 percent of the family’s annual income.

“This is really a hand-off not a hand-out,” Luxenberg said.

On average, Luxenberg said, homeowners will stay in these homes for seven to eight years.

“They really become part of the community,” Luxenberg said.

She said that “housing stability is the basic building block” for a family’s stability.

“Children’s environment in their formative years sets the path for the lives they will lead — from education and earning to health and quality of life,” according to Habitat. “Not only does a child’s peer group influence the networks and opportunities he or she can access, but the psychological effects of living away from factors such as crime, for both children and their parents, are also profound and lasting.”

This Sammamish site is located within the Issaquah School District. Students will be able to walk along the 228th corridor to Discovery Elementary, Pine Lake Middle School and Skyline High School.

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