Hendricks to leave Vashon HouseHold this spring

Sam Hendricks, whose nine-year tenure as the head of Vashon HouseHold has encompassed a period of immense growth for the affordable-housing developer, will step down in April.

Hendricks, 47, became HouseHold’s executive director in 2000, when the nonprofit had completed two housing projects — acquisition of the Charter House apartments in 1996 and construction of five Vashon Cohousing homes in 1997.

Since Hendricks took the reins, the nonprofit housing developer has blossomed and now counts six housing projects among its accomplishments with a seventh on the horizon.

Board members said Hendricks has been a dynamic force at the helm of the organization. At the same time, they said, the change will give Vashon HouseHold a chance to renew and re-examine its role in the community.

“The success of the organization has been quite dependent on his ability to get things done,” Sue Gardner, head of the Vashon HouseHold board, said about Hendricks.

“I think we’re looking forward to the shakeup it’s going to give the organization,” she added. “It’ll be a chance to look at our values again and make sure we’re hitting all of them.”

Vashon HouseHold “was well begun” when Hendricks began work there, said Jean Bosch, the nonprofit’s first executive director and a former board member. But now, the nonprofit “has definitely stepped into the big time. Sam certainly took it to the next level.”

Within weeks, Vashon HouseHold will cement the purchase of a 20-unit apartment complex on S.W. 178th Street, near the Vashon post office. The organization plans to renovate the three buildings in the complex and keep rents there affordable in perpetuity.

King County has agreed to fund the $2.2 million purchase of the apartments, “a gesture of confidence that is unheard of” in this type of project, Bosch said.

“The county just stepped up and said, ‘We really believe you’re going to make this happen, so we’re going to give you the money to buy it,’” she said. “That’s a gigantic vote of confidence by them in Vashon HouseHold.”

Hendricks — who was a civil rights policy analyst for the city of Seattle before moving to Vashon to work with Vashon HouseHold — said he is leaving the nonprofit because he’s “ready for new challenges.”

He plans to pursue woodworking, public relations, fundraising and project management after stepping down from the housing organization in April.

“I was a cabinetmaker for several years, and I just love to work with my hands,” Hendricks said.

After holding an office-based job for nine years, he said he’s looking forward to the opportunity to exercise his creative mind.

He said he “believes in nonprofit, mission-driven organizations,” and hopes to work with another organization that fits that description after leaving Vashon HouseHold.

The agency’s board has begun creating a search committee for the person who will take over Hendricks’ position, Gardner said. She said she’d like someone to jump in quickly, so there’s “significant time to show them the ropes.”

“We’re putting as positive a spin on it as we can,” Gardner said of Hendricks’ impending departure. “Any change is difficult, there’s no question about that, but we feel that it’s also a part of how an organization grows. ... He’s ready for a break, and we’re glad to give him that.”

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