- Organization History
- Positive Community Impact
- Reason for Loan
MEND is an acronym for Meeting Each Need with Dignity. This summarizes the goals and purpose of this organization. We are an independent social service organization dedicated to meeting the physical needs of area residents and transients as a manifestation of our faith. Our goal is to do this in a way that respects the integrity and dignity of each person. Upper Valley MEND is a Leavenworth nonprofit that began 25 years ago as an area food bank. It has grown into a multi-service agency as a direct result of the financial and volunteer support of local residents.
The oldest of Upper Valley MEND’s programs is the Community Cupboard. The Cupboard was started as a food bank by area churches in 1983, and has grown in both size and services over the years. Today, the Cupboard is a food bank, thrift store, and Emergency Assistance resource for residents of the Upper Valley, serving over 225 families each month. The Cupboard is sustained by donations of food, merchandise, volunteer hours and financial contributions.
The Upper Valley Free Health Clinic provides free urgent health care to over 200 uninsured and under-insured community members annually. For continuing care, the Free Clinic assists patients in finding low-cost services and free or reduced-rate prescriptions. Services are provided totally on a voluntary basis by the Leavenworth Medical Center’s doctors, nurses, and members of the community. We also provide Spanish-speaking translators.
Our Fair Trade store, Jubilee Global Gifts empowers both our global and local communities. The store merchandise is purchased from artisans and farmers in developing countries providing them economic stability. The proceeds of the store benefit all programs of Upper Valley MEND.
In 1995, the community responded to the need for affordable housing by creating SHARE (Securing Homes on Affordable Real Estate). SHARE is a Community Land Trust that has created and sustained twenty new, permanently affordable Community Land Trust (CLT) homes for families in the Upper Valley. SHARE has also built and sustained an adult family home for the developmentally disabled. Cornerstone Community Home is an adult family home that provides housing for six adults with developmental disabilities in a supportive, loving residence with full-time caregivers. Cornerstone opened in August 2011 after five years of planning and development.
Let’s keep Leavenworth Livable for Working Families!
Because Leavenworth is a popular destination resort town, the real estate values have risen substantially, causing much of the general workforce to live out of town and commute to work. From a social and economic perspective, it makes sense that those who work in Leavenworth should also be able to afford to live in Leavenworth. Constructing affordable homes under the Community Land Trust (CLT) model will give the average working family access to permanently affordable housing.
Currently, the average house price in Leavenworth is $300,000, a number greatly above the purchasing ability of the workforce in Leavenworth, which includes many nurses and teachers. MEND will be able to provide homes at a sale price between $125,000 and $175,000. To qualify, homebuyers must have a household income of less than 80% of the Chelan County median income. However, MEND expects to be able to serve buyers with income as low as 40% of the area median income.
Leavenworth’s school enrollment has been trending downward as many young families are unable to afford homes in Leavenworth. We are proud to say that this pattern can be reversed with the development of Meadowlark. This development is predicted to allow for an additional 150 school-age or future enrolling students for the school district.
To stress the community importance of the Meadowlark project, Leavenworth’s Mayor Cheri Farivar was quoted as saying “These working families are critically important to the success of any community, as they are the lifeblood of our workforce. There is no question that affordable housing is important in any community, but it has never been more important to Leavenworth than right now.”
The services of Upper Valley MEND, founded in 1983, have grown in response to growing needs in the Upper Wenatchee Valley. Serving a diverse population totaling about 9,000 residents Upper Valley MEND operates a food bank, thrift store, emergency financial services, a free clinic, an adult family home for six developmentally disabled adults, and has developed 20 permanently affordable homes under the housing land trust model.
The need for affordable, family-oriented housing is widely recognized as one of the most pressing threats to the residential community of Leavenworth. To address this need, MEND, via its SHARE Community Land Trust program, is now in the developmental stage of Meadowlark, a 60 lot affordable housing development that will provide the Leavenworth community with additional affordable housing options. MEND/SHARE is one of three partners in developing this 107 unit, mixed income residential neighborhood.
The Meadowlark property was purchased in 2001 along with the land that later became Aldea Village, one of the two ten-home developments completed by SHARE from 2000-2006. The $440,000 price was raised through a combination of grants, community donations, and community loans. The community support for creating affordable housing in the Upper Valley has a strong history, rooted in the deep commitment of local residents to retain a vibrant, diverse residential community even amidst the boom in the tourist/recreational economy and subsequent escalation of housing prices – which now approach those in metropolitan Seattle.
MEND is seeking financing for the Meadowlark project through the Semble platform partially in lieu of bank construction lending. Semble has a proven track record of bringing innovative financing solutions to non-profits. The intention is to utilize funding from Semble on a first in, last out basis since it is less costly than bank financing. Banner Bank will handle draws for the project in addition to its commitment to extend debt if needed.
To date, as it relates to the project, MEND has incurred land acquisition and pre-development costs of $1,075,000. $300,000 of this amount is through a federal loan/grant financing from the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP). A deed of trust is held by SHOP but this deed will be fully subordinated. The SHOP loan is a non-interest bearing debt instrument which is forgiven ten years from the creation of qualifying homes.
At any one time, MEND will need a total of $4.5 million in financing. Of this, $3 million will be for the infrastructure and $1.5 million will be a revolving debt facility for the construction of the homes. MEND is looking to raise between $1.5 - $2 million from community investors with the balance being provided by Banner Bank.
Repayment of the loan will come from the sale of the homes, and some custom home lots. Banner Bank’s loan will be paid down first, and the investors will be repaid following the bank repayment. The funds will essentially be reused about three times, as approximately 15 houses will be built in each of the years 2014, 2015, and 2016. Because of these revolving funds, repayment will occur most substantially in 2016.
The Meadowlark project will consist of approximately 60 lots, 30 of which will be sold through the Community Land Trust model to buyers earning less than 80% of area median income. Twenty-four houses will be targeted “near market,” meaning they will be sold as affordable homes to buyers in the 80% to 120% range of area median income. The remaining 6 lots will be sold at market rate in order to subsidize the affordable houses.