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Gates Foundation's Sound Families Program/King County Housing Authority/KITH Partnership Provides Transitional Housing for Homeless Families.

Business Editors/City Desks

KIRKLAND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 20, 2003

Kingsgate, a recently rehabilitated fourplex in Kirkland, will offer a new lease on life to four homeless families thanks to a community partnership between the King County Housing Authority, Kirkland Interfaith Transitions in Housing (KITH) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Sound Families program.

The partnership is part of an ongoing commitment by the housing authority to provide housing choices and supportive services to homeless families in King County.

"This partnership helps create a new transitional housing resource that will serve our community over the long term," said Karin Frankenburger, KITH executive director. "The rental subsidy provided by KCHA allows us to guarantee a quality living environment for homeless children and their parents."

Assistance for the acquisition and conversion of these properties was provided by A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH), King County, Home Aid Master Builders Care Foundation and a host of private donors.

A $155,000 grant from the Sound Families program funded the four units at Kingsgate.

Of the four apartments, three are already rented to formerly homeless families. A fourth family is expected to move into the final unit shortly.

As part of the transitional housing program, KITH provides case management services to the families to help them obtain the skills they need to become self-determining. KITH staff also coordinates with outside care providers such as doctors, mental health providers and career development and employment support professionals. Families, who pay up to 30 percent of their incomes for rent, can stay in their apartments for a maximum of two years. The King County Housing Authority will offer opportunities for permanent housing through its public housing and Section 8 voucher programs to "graduates" of the transitional program.

The Authority, which provides rental subsidies for the apartment homes, is dedicated to ensuring that homeless families in King County have safe, affordable, service-enriched housing. KCHA is working with service providers across the county, including Family Services and Eastside Housing Association, who are developing housing through the Sound Families initiative to address a growing issue of homelessness in suburban communities.

Endowed by a $40 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Sound Families initiative will fund 1,500 housing units for families in transition out of homelessness in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Since the program began in July 2000, nearly 600 new transitional housing units have been funded.

"Our partnership offers new resources for homeless families in King County," said Stephen Norman, executive director of the King County Housing Authority. "By partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and service providers like KITH, we can offer formerly homeless families the programs and services they need in tandem with quality, comfortable housing. Without such options, many of these families would remain homeless."

KCHA administers a range of quality affordable rental and homeownership programs for residents of King County. The Authority serves more than 15,000 families, elderly and disabled households.

KITH is a Washington nonprofit organization guided by faith to unite individuals and families, confront homelessness and build safe and healthy communities.

On the Internet:

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, www.gatesfoundation.org

Sound Families, www.soundfamilies.org

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to improving people's lives by sharing advances in health and learning with the global community. Led by Bill Gates' father, William H. Gates, Sr., and Patty Stonesifer, the Seattle-based foundation has an endowment of $24 billion.
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Date:Feb 20, 2003
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