Mercy Housing Northwest (MHNW), a regional branch of Mercy Housing Inc., a leading national affordable housing nonprofit, has received $1.5 million from the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, based in Adrian, Michigan, to invest in educational opportunities for families who earn low incomes and live at eight Mercy Housing communities in Seattle, Kent, Bellingham and Lake Oswego, Oregon.
The monies will be used to develop and expand Mercy Housing’s out-of-school time programs, including enhanced literacy and math curricula, and will serve up to 1,000 school-aged residents, according to a June 14 MHNW news release.
Mercy Housing will roll out the program in 2022 to the Appian Way Apartments, 25818 26th Place S. It will expand partnership and data-sharing agreements with relevant school districts and organizations serving the Kent area.
“We made this investment as part of a congregational commitment to help build resilient communities with local partners that have capacity to maximize impact in places where our Sisters have had a long-term engagement,” said Patricia Siemen, prioress of the congregation. “Mercy Housing Northwest is one such dynamic partner and our Sisters of the former Dominican Sisters of Edmonds were among the founding communities that gave birth to MHNW. We have high hopes that this investment will bring incalculable returns in the enriched lives of thousands of children.”
MHNW has a remarkable track record with out-of-school time programming, having seen a 100% high school graduation rate for over five years at one community in Bellingham, according to the news release. They wanted to scale this success to meet the growing need for educational opportunities for communities earning low incomes—especially BIPOC communities that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
The average family income at MHNW is less than $14,000 annually. In a recent survey with residents raising school-age children, respondents overwhelmingly agreed (nearly 75%) that it would be a benefit for MHNW to provide more out-of-school time programming.
MHNW’s five-year goal is to foster real and measurable progress toward school success at primary and secondary grade levels as they focus on on-time high school graduation and readiness for post-secondary education and career opportunities. MHNW activates K-12 education support systems through their industry-leading affordable housing model. The focus is increasing student housing stability, strengthening student and parent engagement, and supporting a culture of school success.
Mercy Housing Northwest has developed over 2,500 apartment homes in 55 communities across the Pacific Northwest. Each year, 6,700 residents call these communities home, serving families, seniors, and people with special needs with incomes at or below 60% of the area median income