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Friday, March 1, 2024
March 1, 2024

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Nonprofit wants to help pay to build ADUs on properties in Vancouver

ADU Foundation aims to increase generational wealth by building accessory dwelling units

By , Columbian staff reporter, and
, Columbian staff reporter
Published:
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The ADU Foundation, founded by Sativa McGee, will provide families with intergenerational wealth by adding tiny units onto single family properties.
The ADU Foundation, founded by Sativa McGee, will provide families with intergenerational wealth by adding tiny units onto single family properties. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian files) Photo Gallery

Sativa McGee wasn’t planning on starting her nonprofit. She had wanted to start a for-profit business selling accessory dwelling units, small dwellings typically located on the property of houses.

But she realized the people who really needed these units couldn’t afford them — people like her mother. She was homeless living on disability, so McGee built her an ADU.

“I wonder how many people out there have parents living in the cars on the street simply because they can’t pay a bill,” McGee said.

So she started the ADU Foundation, a charity that builds ADUs and supplements the costs for homeowners depending on their income — at least 20 percent. McGee said that ADUs’ rent would need to be capped at 50-80 percent of fair market value, which can be as low as $805 for a one-bedroom including utilities, she said.

TO LEARN MORE

The nonprofit is still in its planning phase, but the idea is to increase homeowners’ generational wealth while they provide more affordable housing, McGee said.

“The original concept is to open up the ability to get generational equity,” said McGee. “It’s for families that don’t have that opportunity because they can’t put a 20 percent down payment or pay cash to be able to build (an ADU). So it allows more people to gain equity.”

The ADUs will have forgivable loans — as long as the homeowners use them for affordable housing, they don’t have to make any payments.

“Twenty years from now, they outright own this home. They can move into it at retirement, they can rent it out their property, or they just have the value of it. And for 20 years, they’ve given someone an affordable place to live,” McGee said.

McGee said that the foundation will focus on aging adults, veterans, people with intellectual disabilities and foster children aging out of the system.

These are groups that are particularly vulnerable to homelessness. For foster youth aging out of the system, 17 percent become homeless within one year. Nearly 1,000 Clark County veterans have experienced homelessness so far this year.

She hopes to expand the program to help more groups.

Cat Montgomery, a board member of the foundation, said ADUs can allow someone to stay close to a family while maintaining their independence.

“It’s hard to sometimes have other people in your home. That doesn’t mean you would care for them any less,” Montgomery said.

Now, McGee is looking for interested homeowners.

She’s hoping to receive funding from the city of Vancouver’s Affordable Housing Fund. The foundation has around 25 people on their waiting list, according to Montgomery. They’re hoping more Vancouver residents will join the list so they can show the city of Vancouver the desire for an initiative like this.

Montgomery said ADU Foundation wants the ADUs to blend into existing neighborhoods.

“We are definitely not looking just to build converted sheds. These are definitely not tiny homes. This is not a home on wheels,” she said. “This is concrete foundation poured, beautiful little homes.”

Community Funded Journalism logo

This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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