Newly opened transitional housing provides relief for Eastside families

Six-year-old Sinai Pacheco is excited that she will soon have her own bedroom. But her mother, Georgina, is relieved that her family will finally have what she has been praying for - a stable home. On Tuesday afternoon, Georgina stood in front of the new Kensington Square housing units that were just completed in Crossroads. The single mother held her youngest, 1-year-old Max, on her hip while her 3-year-old son, Josue and Sinai sat on a concrete step of their new home. The four-unit building and two single-unit dwellings will provide transitional housing for six homeless Eastside families for up to two years - including the Pacheco’s.

Six-year-old Sinai Pacheco is excited that she will soon have her own bedroom.

But her mother, Georgina, is relieved that her family will finally have what she has been praying for - a stable home.

On Tuesday afternoon, Georgina stood in front of the new Kensington Square housing units that were just completed in Crossroads. The single mother held her youngest, 1-year-old Max, on her hip while her 3-year-old son, Josue and Sinai sat on a concrete step of their new home.

“My daughter and I are just so eager to have a safe place and a stable home,” Georgina said. “So this is just a blessing from God.”

The four-unit building and two single-unit dwellings will provide transitional housing for six homeless Eastside families for up to two years - including the Pacheco’s.

Two years ago, Georgina went through some “hard times” and ended up as a single mother. Her parents helped her out as much as they could, letting the children stay with them while Georgina stayed at friends’ houses.

“But I was so eager to find a place to stay to be with my kids,” she recalled. “I ended up at the shelter. I didn’t have anywhere to go.”

At the Bellevue shelter, Regina Chae, a case manager with the Housing at the Crossroads (HAC) organization, interviewed Georgina and introduced her to the housing program. The Bellevue-based organization has helped homeless families on the Eastside work toward self-sufficiency by providing stable, affordable transitional housing and support services.

HAC joined with the Master Builders Care Foundation and their HomeAid builder captain Shea Homes to solicit donations from the home-building industry to construct the new units. The state, King County and church groups, including St. Louise Catholic Church and First Presbyterian Church, also provided funding for the project. Shea Homes of Redmond coordinated construction of the new facility.

Kensington Square, located on Northeast Eighth Street, features two and three-bedroom units that fit families of up to seven people. Each unit is furnished with new appliances, a laundry room with a washer and dryer and an upstairs and downstairs.

Greg Robertson, Housing at the Crossroads president, said so far three families have been selected to move in to the new units by the beginning of July.

“You hear statistics about people being one paycheck away from being homeless or one car repair away from homelessness and that’s many of the people who come in to our program,” Robertson said during the housing’s opening ceremony June 24. About 100 community members and officials were present for the event, including State Rep. Ross Hunter.

“They aren’t struggling more than just trying to get back on their feet and by providing them shelter from the storm, we’re giving them a chance to become productive again,” he said.

He added that Kensington Square is one of the best housing units in King County and will provide long-term help for many families.

Bellevue City Councilmember Patsy Bonincontri said that many people don’t think there are problems such as homelessness in Bellevue.

“But it’s really a cross-section,” she said. “It’s not just one type of people that we have and we do care about all of our residents, regardless of financial background and the city is proud to be a part of this project.”

In the next few weeks, the Pacheco family will move in to one of the three-bedroom dwellings. Georgina, who currently works a part-time job and only makes a couple hundred dollars a month, would like to work towards becoming a registered nurse. Her case manager will help her find scholarships and a suitable college.

“I could have never afforded to live in a place like this,” Georgina said. “This is just what I need to build a better future for me and my kids.”

Carrie Wood can be reached at cwood@reporternewspapers.com or 425-453-4290.

Learn more

For more information, visit www.housing-at-the-crossroads.org.