The theme of possibility was at the forefront of a groundbreaking event sponsored by Community Frameworks on Monday morning.
Those who gathered for the launch of an ambitious townhome development featuring affordable dwellings for local families parked their vehicles on ruddy terrain off Appleway Road and walked a short distance to hear a brief presentation about the Valley Pointe community scheduled to sprout up over the next year.
Only a nearby bulldozer offered an indication that construction will soon be underway.
The uneven land and patchy foliage covering some 2.4 acres will soon be replaced by a well-manicured neighborhood of 30 townhomes – the latest Community Frameworks project designed to provide housing for first-time homebuyers with incomes at or below 80 percent of the area median income.
Diane Leigland, deputy director of Community Frameworks, told attendees at the July 20 gathering that the agency defines developments like Valley Pointe as “communities – not projects.”
“We refer to them as communities because that’s what they become,” Leigland said.
Community Frameworks – with offices in Spokane and Bremerton, WA – is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. The nonprofit organization was created in 1974 as an agency known as the Northwest Regional Foundation. The primary goal of the group at the time was to help facilitate funds distributed through federal Community Block Grants for “the betterment of communities.”
Today, Community Frameworks specializes in programs that promote home ownership while also providing assistance to a variety of community housing groups.
The Valley Pointe community will join similar developments such as Takoda Park in Cheney and Greenfield Estates in Northeast Spokane that feature 100-percent financing, downpayment assistance and affordable monthly payments.
Over the years, Community Frameworks has developed or preserved nearly 700 low-income rental units and 128 shelter beds. The agency has constructed 127 single family homes and 36 condominiums while rehabilitating 2,900 homes and 1,822 rental units.
The agency has also been awarded over $30 million in federal Housing and Urban Development grants since starting up. The funds have translated into 2,143 new homes for first-time homebuyers through 42 affiliate programs.
In Spokane Valley, a Community Frameworks project called Dishman Commons – near Dishman-Mica and 16th Avenue – features 72 units in a development that has brought character and distinction to a once neglected neighborhood.
A dozen years ago, the agency launched a program called “HomeStarts” that, like similar assistance offered through Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs, provides education and support for potential homeowners.
Melody Kinkead, a group coordinator at Community Frameworks, said the organization remains committed to helping residents “understand if they qualify or what they need to do to qualify” for a home loan. Thanks to a grant from the Inland Northwest Foundation, HomeStarts recently began offering a series of classes addressing topics like money management and mortgage basics. The free courses are offered monthly and open to the public.
John Fisher of Community Frameworks said Valley Pointe – which will feature a small park and professionally maintained landscaping – has the same potential to enhance the U-City area.
“A lot of emphasis has been put into the design and aesthetics here,” Fisher said.
Fisher said the neighborhood will benefit from being near a Spokane Transit Authority bus depot on University as well as shopping and restaurant options.
Community Frameworks is currently accepting applications for Valley Pointe residences. Families must contribute between 15 to 17 hours of work each week on their home as part of a $6,000 credit toward the purchase price. The program also includes education on home upkeep.
“Not only do they get the credit, they receive the knowledge on how to maintain their home which will save them more money,” Fisher said.
Zeck Butler and Associates provided the design work for Valley Pointe while Whipple Construction will be the onsite contractor. The first phase of 10 homes is expected to be completed by spring of next year.
Want to find out more?
Community Frameworks will hold a series of free educational classes this summer including a first-time homebuyer’s orientation meeting on Monday, July 27 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Community Frameworks office, 315 W. Mission. A course on “Understanding Credit” will be held Wednesday, Aug 5, and a class titled “Managing Your Finances” will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 12. Both classes will run from 6 to 7 p.m. To learn more, or to apply for the homebuyer program, call 484-6733 or visit www.communityframeworks.org.