Submitted by Homes First

In a quiet neighborhood in Lacey, a home with warm oak hardwood floors, a large front room, and two full baths has recently been remodeled to include a converted garage with mini-split pump for heat and AC. Outside, multiple garden beds and a storage shed complement the manicured lawn.

This home, called Genesis House, will soon be welcoming four new tenants—female adults between the ages of 18 and 25 who are working to achieve their high school diplomas or GED.

Homes First, in partnership with City of Lacey and North Thurston School District, recently acquired the property in line with their mission—to provide safe, healthy, and affordable rental homes for those who need them most.

“We have been trying to get this going for a while now and are excited that we have just recently bought the house,” says Ron Stewart, director of programs and assets at Homes First. “We want to provide opportunities for all kinds of people to reach their full potential.”

Research consistently shows that employment prospects and lifelong earning potential are better for high school graduates or GED equivalent, and according to a study by Healthy People, for every year of high school that a student completes, their lifetime wealth increases by 15%. Further, increased educational attainment provides individuals with the opportunity to earn a higher income and gain access to better living conditions, healthier foods and health care services.

Homes First has two other homes for young adults. In partnership with Community Youth Service (CYS), the homes are for young adults working on getting jobs in the community for the first time.

Stewart has worked with Homes First for 19 years, witnessing the power of what having a stable home can provide. With the stress of housing lifted, individuals and families can focus on other aspects of living healthy and happy lives.

“It is inspiring to all of us here at Homes First when we see one of our tenants, for example coming from the CYS house, get a job and move on with their successful lives,” he says. “We have had numerous families that came from shelters and were able to move into one of our homes and have security that we will maintain and keep their homes safe and healthy.”

Shared housing is one of the cornerstones of Homes First. Other types of shared living include those recovering their mental health, adults with developmental disabilities, and the Oxford House for those living in recovery from substances.

Other housing programs cover individuals and families with project-based vouchers and directly managed residences. All tenants are offered support and community resources during their time in a Homes First home or apartment. To learn more, visit the Homes First website.

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