Sammamish service groups to help homeowners
January 11, 2011
By Caleb Heeringa
New: Jan. 11, 1:13 p.m.
Sammamish residents financially or physically unable to make necessary improvements to their property can get help from local volunteers through the Sammamish Cares program.
The program seeks to help residents who have serious repairs they must make to their house, but are not able to do so. It will be run jointly between the city, Sammamish Rotary, Sammamish Kiwanis, Faith In Action and Habitat for Humanity of East King County.
Sammamish Cares is aimed at alleviating the handful of incidents a year in which the city finds a home that violates city building codes, but the resident for some reason can’t make the repairs.
Community Development Director Kamuron Gurol estimated the city sees a half dozen or so cases out of the 150 to 300 code problems they see in any given year.
“It’s a one-time assistance program for Sammamish homeowners who need help maintaining their property or home but cannot because of funds or incapacity,” Rotary member CJ Kahler said at the Jan. 4 council meeting.
Examples of code enforcement issues that the city sometimes becomes involved in include an unkempt yard, a damaged fence, woodshed, deck or other building. If the city learns that a resident either can’t pay for repairs or is unable to make them due to age or physical impairment, they’ll refer them to the Sammamish Cares program.
Kahler said volunteers will visit the resident to get a sense of the problem and see which of the volunteer groups would be best equipped to handle it. Simple repairs or cleanup could be handled by Kiwanis or Rotary members, while more significant building projects might include Habitat for Humanity.
The program is designed to alleviate one-time issues and not do ongoing maintenance or major construction.
Kahler said there will not be a screening process for whether someone can or cannot afford the repairs.
“If you ask us we assume you need help,” he said.
The program is funded through a $5,000 grant from the Healthy Aging Partnership, a coalition of more than 30 King County non-profits and community organizations. The city also budgeted an extra $2,000 for the program, though Kahler said they’d be using their grant money before coming to the city for reimbursement.
They’ll also ask homeowners to cover some of the cost of necessary repairs, if possible, in exchange for volunteers doing the work.
“I’m impressed with all the service organizations working together like this,” Mayor Don Gerend said of the program.
Anyone interested in the project can call Dawn Sanders, the city’s volunteer coordinator, at 295-0556 or email@example.com.
Reporter Caleb Heeringa can be reached at 392-6434. ext. 247, or firstname.lastname@example.org.