Forterra and El Centro De La Raza Forge Partnership Towards Buying Land for Affordable Housing

April 27, 2016 –Forterra, a regional sustainability nonprofit, and El Centro De La Raza, a leading social justice organization, today announced their partnership in pursuing affordable housing for the Puget Sound region.

The two organizations will search for urban properties near existing (and/or future) transit hubs to land bank for future development of affordable housing.

The historic partnership between a local environmental organization and a local civil rights advocacy organization stems from a shared commitment towards growing the region with communities that are green, healthy and equitable.

“Sustainability means paying attention to and caring for both the environment and the people. Without doing both you serve neither,” said Forterra President Gene Duvernoy.

“This is an opportunity to address the crisis of affordable housing and bring stability to people’s lives,” said El Centro’s Executive Director Estela Ortega. “At the end of the day, we are making our city livable for all who live, work and play in our city. And it will keep the city diverse.

”El Centro, a voice and hub for the region’s Latino community, has embarked on its Plaza Roberto Maestas project on Seattle’s Beacon Hill. Plaza Maestas will be a landmark transit-oriented, mixed-use development adjacent to its current building. But as the region grows with more and more people moving into the area, the nonprofit recognizes the need to land bank strategic properties that take advantage of light rail and community infrastructure.

Forterra is an expert in all aspects of property transactions—from financing to fundraising to negotiating terms. Its work under the partnership is to support ownership of new properties by El Centro, which fits squarely into its mission of securing keystone properties that advance a great quality of life for all.

“Farmland, forest land and affordable land are all keystone lands that hold up this region,” said Duvernoy, Forterra’s president. The partnership was first announced at Forterra’s annual breakfast at the Washington State Convention Center, before a crowd of 1,450 people.

About Forterra
Forterra secures and cares for the keystone lands needed for a sustainable, equitable future. Its mission ranges across Washington, from iconic wild landscapes, to working farms and forests, to lands in our cities for parks, the arts, and affordable housing. Our work includes stewardship and restoration projects, often performed by volunteers. Plus we champion policies that marry sustainability and economic development, for example our efforts on cross-laminated timber.

About El Centro De La Raza
El Centro de la Raza is a voice and a hub for Seattle and Martin Luther King, Jr. County’s Latino community as we advocate on behalf of our people and work to achieve social justice. Through our comprehensive programs and services, we empower members of the Latino community as fully participating members of society. We also work to raise awareness with the general public, and government, business and civic leaders about the needs of the Chicano/Latino community in the United States.

Estela Ortega,
El Centro De La Raza
Executive Director

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