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Korean Women's Association earns King County Green Globe Award for senior housing in Federal Way
By Jacob E. Ooley/For The Mirror
A longtime Tacoma social service agency for underserved families and individuals has notched a county government award for going green.
KWA, formerly known as the Korean Women’s Association and headquartered in Tacoma, received the King County Green Globe Award for the architectural design and sustainable features of its new senior citizen housing development in Federal Way.
Recipients of the county’s Green Globe awards include individuals, cities, school districts and businesses that show leadership in being good environmental stewards.
“We are pleased and honored to receive this award from King County,” said KWA executive director Peter Ansara. “We do our best to serve our community in multiple ways. We are extremely proud and thankful.”
Senior City, a 62-unit facility at 31635 23rd Ave. S. in Federal Way, opened in June 2010. This complex aims to provide affordable housing to the elderly and disabled.
Doug Klemp, Senior City’s operations manager, highlighted the sustainable features that are included in each apartment.
“Each room is equipped with a vent that is directly linked outside to bring fresh filtered air into each apartment, while all of the light bulbs on site are incandescent and fluorescent bulbs,” Klemp said. “Each unit is also equipped with features to cut water consumption, and larger windows allow for natural lighting to illuminate rooms, cutting the cost of electricity.”
Ansara said even the decision to put the building near the Federal Way Transit Center sought to conserve resources and generate goodwill.
“Locating the facility near the Federal Way Transit system not only provides excellent mobility for our residents and other clients,” said Ansara, “but also allows us to secure a tremendous amount of public support, thus giving us the ability to build a state-of-the-art green facility that is available to more than just our clients.”
Chris Carrel, Federal Way’s communication and grant coordinator, said Senior City is an innovative building that addresses the sustainable as well as social aspects of the community.
“KWA’s Senior City has redefined the way we picture low-income housing. It combines the needs of our community and the needs of our environment,” Carrel said. “Senior City shows that green living shouldn’t be available to one part of the community, but available to everyone.”
With annual revenues of $19 million, KWA, which was founded in 1972 as a grass-roots effort to help Korean women acclimate to the U.S., has grown to become a statewide provider of social services, including low-income housing, home care, meal sites for seniors, breast cancer navigation and mammography screening, and support services for domestic violence and sexual-assault victims. KWA meets people’s most basic human needs through education, socialization, advocacy and support.
The organization, which serves more than 150,000 clients from some 40 nationalities, also offers naturalization and citizenship services in three counties across the state,, according to Sabrina Coady, KWA’s director of marketing and communications.
“We are here to meet the needs of our clients no matter their race, nationality, or ethnic background,” said Coady.
Receiving the Green Globe Award is just an extension of the organization’s service to others, said Ansara.
“KWA was founded on the mission to help individuals in the community,” said Ansara. “Today, this mission still holds true.”
Jacob E. Ooley is a freelance writer based in Tacoma.