HOMES FIRST CELEBRATES 30 YEARS

The 1980’s are often recognized as the decade of greed.  But in the late 80’s a group of people recognized that many social services were vanishing, and the needs of low income citizens weren’t being met.  This was especially true of affordable housing.  

Founded in 1990 by Billie Heath, Maureen Hill, and Kenturah Brown, Homes First was created to provide safe, healthy and affordable housing to low-income members of our community.  These founders watched as affordable homes in Thurston and Mason County were being bought and flipped to sell or rent for far more than below-average-income people could afford.

As more of their community members were being priced out of the market, they understood their mission would need to focus on providing the actual affordable housing.  So, they began buying pre-existing homes that they would fix up and rent at below market to the lowest income members of our community.   

And now, after 30 years, Homes First manages 47 homes including specialty housing through partnerships with other service organizations.  Of these 47 homes, 13 are shared homes for adults with disabilities, five are for persons in recovery, three for homeless youth and one shared home provides housing for former Western State Hospital residents.

CEO Trudy Soucoup has led a small, but mighty team for the last nine years all working together to ensure their tenants are treated with dignity and respect.  Soucoup has an ever-growing list of goals for Homes First which includes adding solar panels to some of their homes and participating in the Hummingbird Community Solar Project for 2021.  A second goal, if the public funds are available, is to purchase two homes every quarter allowing them to transition more people into their program.

How can you help Homes First?  Consider donating your home and leave a community legacy.  While it is a tax break for the heirs to your estate, it also means your home will live on as Homes First has never sold a home and they never will.

For more information about Homes First, please visit their website at homesfirst.org 

by Lynn Castle