Methow Housing Trust Hires Executive Director And Receives IRS Approval

Twisp, WA – The Methow Housing Trust, a local affordable housing nonprofit that was formally launched in March, has received great news on two different fronts. The Trust has just hired Danica Ready as its first Executive Director, and nearly concurrently, it has received the IRS’ approval of its status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity.

“In just its first few months the Methow Housing Trust has marked some major milestones, but none more important than those reached in the last two weeks - the hiring of Danica Ready as our first Executive Director and then the receipt of our IRS letter approving the Trust as a 501(c)(3) public charity”, said Bill Pope, President of the Board of the Trust. The creation of the Methow Housing Trust came out of studies conducted by the Methow Valley Long Term Recovery group, which identified the lack of affordable housing as one of the main factors holding back the Valley’s economic recovery and advancement. “Housing availability and affordability is a difficult and complex issue, one that requires a long term strategy and execution, and we’re fortunate to have someone of Danica’s caliber and experience to help us take it to the next level. Now, with our IRS approval in hand, we can accept tax deductible donations and move forward aggressively to raise funds and start the planning process,” said Pope.

Prior to joining the Methow Housing Trust, Danica worked as Program Manager for Methow Trails, the nonprofit organization that manages the nation's largest cross-country ski system. Before that, she worked for several other nonprofits, including the Methow Conservancy, the Brainerd Foundation, Teton Science School and the National Audubon Society. In her career, Ms. Ready has focused on sustainable, recreation-based economies, land conservation, conservation biology, geology and education. She has served as a board member for the Cross Country Ski Areas Association and the Methow Fund Advisory Board. In January, Danica was appointed by Governor Inslee to serve on the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board for the State. Danica has lived in the Methow Valley for 17 years, where she has raised her two kids, Payten and Ben, and has built 6 small homes. She graduated from Whitman College with a bachelor’s degree in geology and from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in biology.

“I am honored and very excited to have this opportunity to take the great work that has been done by the Long Term Recovery effort and the current Board and volunteers, and help turn it into reality in the form of thoughtful housing options that serve the needs of the people who call the Methow home. The lack of truly affordable housing for many of our residents has been an issue for decades, since long before the fires of 2014 and 2015. I am grateful and excited to be in a position to work on an issue whose resolution is so vital to our continued success and character as a community,” said Ms. Ready.

“Methow Valley Long Term Recovery (MVLTR) identified access to quality, affordable housing as one of the main issues impacting the resiliency of our community,” said Don Linnertz, MVLTR board member. “The completion of a housing study resulted in the recommendation to form the Methow Housing Trust, ensuring these challenges have a home for the long term. The selection of a passionate, experienced leader like Danica Ready to direct this new organization enables us to quickly develop strategies and respond in ways that reflect the values of the community and the needs of our community members. Danica's leadership will enable the Methow to support our economy, our families, and individuals who are part of the fabric of this strong community.”

The Methow Housing Trust has adopted the community land trust model, under which the Trust will develop housing opportunities on land that it owns and then will manage that housing in a way that ensures it will remain affordable for the community into the future. It is a model that is proving successful in other communities across Washington and the country. The Trust is currently looking at properties for its first project, which it hopes to announce this summer. And since the Trust has just received its 501c3 nonprofit status from the IRS, it can now accept tax-deductible donations in order to further its work to benefit the community.

The Methow Housing Trust is led by founding Board Members: Jessica Blethen, Rocklynn Culp, Phil Davis, Nancy McKinney Milsteadt, Nancy Nash-Mendez, Bill Pope, Hayley Riach, Glenn Schmekel, Laurel Spelman and John Sunderland. Methow Valley Long Term Recovery continues to provide support to the new Board as they work to get up and running.