Hawkins recognized by City of Leavenworth for affordable housing efforts

The City of Leavenworth recognized State Senator Brad Hawkins on April 9 for his continued work to address affordable housing challenges in its community. Hawkins has partnered with the city and community organizations in recent years to help address the city’s unique challenges related to affordable housing, particularly workforce housing.

The Leavenworth Mayor and Council approved Resolution 06-2024, honoring Hawkins and thanking him for his leadership on housing issues. A portion of the resolution stated:

WHEREAS, Senator Brad Hawkins has demonstrated unwavering support for efforts to enhance the quality of life for the residents of Leavenworth and

WHEREAS, Senator Hawkins has exhibited exceptional dedication and commitment in securing essential funding for vital community projects, including allocating $1.3 million in Washington’s 2024 supplemental capital budget towards Upper Valley MEND’s Affordable Rental Housing Project.”

Hawkins said, “I am very honored by the council’s recognition and have enjoyed working with the city and others to help address the affordable housing challenges in Leavenworth.”

He added, “This issue needs to be addressed continually because it is ongoing and evolving. We need to keep working together so that Leavenworth can continue to house a workforce to support its tourism economy and maintain its character as a community.”

Hawkins’ Senate Bill 5868

In 2022, Hawkins partnered with the City of Leavenworth, Chelan County, Upper Valley MEND, and community advocates to secure passage of his Senate Bill 5868, which allows counties to utilize their existing .09 sales tax dollars for affordable housing infrastructure or facilities. Chelan County has been utilizing this new authority to support project funding as part of its Cascade Public Infrastructure Fund.

Leavenworth Affordable Housing Funding

This past legislative session, in 2024, Hawkins sponsored a $1.3 million capital budget project to complete Upper Valley MEND’s Affordable Rental Project, which will preserve 31 apartment units in Leavenworth for affordable workforce rentals. This project has been a multi-year effort for MEND, which received support from the City of Leavenworth, Chelan County, Washington State, and private contributors. This year’s $1.3 million closes the project’s final funding gap.

Sen. Brad Hawkins, 12th Legislative District

“Thank you to Upper Valley Mend, City of Leavenworth, Chelan County Commissioners, our State Representatives, community members, and many others working together to help address Leavenworth’s unique affordable housing challenges. It takes a team effort to progress on a challenging issue like this.”

Kaylin Bettinger, Upper Valley Mend

“The rural Upper Wenatchee Valley region – home to Leavenworth – is facing a crisis of affordable housing for local employees. Without housing for employees, local businesses are reducing their open hours, and services like the local hospital and school district struggle to hire and retain staff. Our expensive housing market has driven local workers out, which negatively impacts community vibrancy as well as our local economy.”

Mayor Carl Florea, City of Leavenworth

“This is critical because, while Leavenworth has grown its tourism workforce by over 500 workers in the past 10 years, we have not provided more than a handful of housing units for these same workers over that period of time. We are fast becoming a community that is affordable only to wealthy second home buyers. This is not sustainable and not healthy for our community, our environment, or our businesses.”

Leavenworth Resolution 06-2024 – Sen. Hawkins