At its Dec. 9 meeting, the Kenmore City Council unanimously approved A Regional Coalition for Housing’s (ARCH) 2020 work program and administrative budget. The passage comes with a required expenditure of $44,921 for 2020 on Kenmore’s behalf as opposed to this year’s $29,793.
ARCH is made up of 15 cities in King County, including Eastside jurisdictions like Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, Bothell, Issaquah, Mercer Island and others. Because it is an interlocal agency — meaning what it seeks to accomplish is a joint undertaking by the cities and entities that are part of it — those involved have to act on and then approve the latest ARCH work program and administrative budget every year.
ARCH aims to support cities in their work to offer affordable housing opportunities to their residents, as required by the Growth Management Act. Through ARCH, several housing projects on the Eastside have been seen through or have gotten started in the last year. This includes the 30Bellevue Apartments — which provides 63 housing units and is a partnership with St. Luke’s Lutheran Church — as well as the recent groundbreaking in Kirkland for a women-and-family shelter due to open next fall.
In Kenmore, ARCH plans to continue monitoring rental/ownership housing projects like the Copper Lantern (which provides rental and ownership units), Heron Landing (senior rental housing) and Spencer 68 (rental units). According to ARCH executive director Lindsay Masters, who spoke at the meeting, some areas the organization would like to focus on in Kenmore include transit-oriented development and ongoing production through incentive programs.
In total, ARCH’s proposed administrative budget comes to about $1.1 million. This is a 53 percent increase from 2019’s $724,221 budget.
“The increase is largely due to additional staffing for monitoring of compliance in homeownership projects funded by the agency, following a review commissioned by the executive board,” states the Dec. 9 meeting agenda item. In ARCH, the executive board is responsible for planning, policy and funding; it also provides, according to ARCH, oversight of the agency’s operations.
Supporting affordable housing has been one of Kenmore’s top priorities for 2019. According to assistant city manager Nancy Ousley, there are enough funds available on the part of Kenmore to meet the requirements of the approval, which includes additional dues for ARCH administration.
The council voiced no questions before approving the motion.
“I think ARCH does a fantastic job,” councilmember Milton Curtis said at the end of the meeting. “If we had to do all this work — shoot, we wouldn’t be nearly as effective.”