ORFH was certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) by the US Department of the Treasury! “The certification is an affirmation of what ORFH has been doing for nearly 30 years” said Executive Director Marty Miller. “For years we’ve been making pre-development loans for affordable housing throughout rural Washington. CDFI certification acknowledges that fact and gives us access to additional resources for future development.”
On April 13, 2012, Catholic Charities Housing Services met with representatives from the City of Prosser, ZBa architects, and the ORFH to draw from the expertise of each group and determine what positive opportunities exist for a proposed farmworker and workforce housing development in Prosser.
In the morning the charette team was introduced to the development history and program as well as precedents and best practices from a variety of sources. Through a participatory process the team chose which design precedents were most important to them, then ranked the top ideas and discussed the connections between each of them. These design ideas then became the discussion points for the afternoon when the team broke into three groups and tackled the issues particular to the site. At the end of the day each table presented their unique ideas and the team generated a list of takeaways or touchstones to help direct the site design as it moves forward.
Highlights of the day were:
recognizing opportunities for native plant use in landscaping,
prioritizing semi-private buffer zones between housing and public space,
recognizing opportunities for bike and pedestrian connections with the broader community,
exploring strategies to foster a sense of ownership over the neighborhood for residents,
and ongoing discussions about the importance of street widths in creating a neighborhood and managing costs for the owner and the city.
The team reached consensus on some issues while others spurred a more long term discussion but everyone came away with a better understanding of the issues on the table and what expertise was available to resolve them. At the end of the day the conversations were positive and everyone left with a broader vision for what is possible.
This event was made possible by a grant from Enterprise Green Communities.