Upper Valley MEND will start work on an affordable housing project in Leavenworth after raising more than $7 million to get it going. 

The nonprofit group is purchasing a 31-unit apartment complex that'll be designated as affordable, workforce housing. 

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Upper Valley MEND Development Director Hillary Clark says it'll address a major need in Leavenworth. 

"There's sort of a gap in between people who qualify for subsidized housing and then people who can't afford things on the open market," said Clark. "And that gap is where a lot of our local workers fit in. They don't make enough to afford an apartment on the open market, but they make too much to qualify for subsidized housing." 

The campaign to raise money for the apartment complex - the Solid Foundations Campaign - brought in $7.3 million over the last year. 

The total surpassed the fundraising goal set at $6.8 million by the end of 2024. 

The money will be used  to fully fund the purchase of the apartment complex and provide funding for improvements. The campaign got a critical boost with a $1.3 million grant from the state Legislature, through the work of Rep. Mike Steele and Sen. Brad Hawkins 

Upper Valley MEND is purchasing the property at an affordable price from the Marson family, the long-time owners of Marson and Marson Lumber.

The nonprofit says more than 350 households, foundations, and businesses came together for the fundraising campaign. 

The push to top $7.3 million came from a $250,000 matching gift from the Sleeping Lady Foundation, with a public matche bringing that total to $500,000. 

The plan for that money is to build two affordable housing units on an empty lot donated by the Marson family. 

Clark says the need for affordable housing in Leavenworth continues to grow. “As the upper valley gets harder and harder to afford for people that make local wages, ya know, businesses try harder to pay their employees, but the trust is, is that housing is just getting out of reach for a lot of people,” Clark said. 

According to Pacific Appraisal, the median cost of a house in Leavenworth in the first quarter of this year was $577,500, while the average sale price was $815,583, an increase of 27 percent in the last year. 

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