20-unit building for homeless veterans planned to open in July

LYNNWOOD — The need for housing for homeless veterans in Snohomish County has been known for years.

Planning, paying for and building 20 units of affordable housing took five years of work.

Now, the opening of the project, called Sebastian Place, at 1925 196th St. SW, is just weeks away.

“It’s very exciting,” said Cammy Hart-Anderson, a manager for Snohomish County’s Human Services Department.

“It’s hard to believe that five years ago, we started talking about it and in July it becomes a reality for veterans who served our country,” she said. “Now it’s our chance to serve them.”

Drug and alcohol assistance programs and mental health services will be available.

Sebastian Place, a project of Catholic Community Services, is the first apartment complex in the county set aside to assist homeless veterans.

Efforts to establish the veterans housing program began in 2011. It involved work by the Snohomish County Veterans Assistance Program, the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Housing Authority of Snohomish County, Snohomish County, and Catholic Community Services.

The buildings and a community center at Sebastian Place cost just over $4 million, said Will Rice, regional chief of operations for Catholic Community Services.

The goal is to open the building to the first tenants in early July, but people will be moved in gradually over the summer, he said.

People have asked how they can help, and there’s two things that can be done, Rice said. Welcome baskets, with the things needed by people as they move into a new apartment are one option. They could include towels, pillows, kitchen supplies, twin sheets and blankets or gift cards so that veterans can buy needed items.

The nonproft also is seeking people who would like to adopt a room. All donations are accepted, but the cost of outfitting a room, with a bed frame, mattress, a small dining table, chairs, dishes, and linens is estimated at $1,600.

Snohomish County is home to an estimated 66,000 veterans. It’s difficult to know how many veterans are homeless at any given time, Hart-Anderson said.

Some homeless veterans come to the county seeking jobs, not realizing the high cost of living. “They may have some resources, but not enough for the deposits and first and last month’s rent,” she said.

The only gauge the county has is its annual one-day estimate of the homeless conducted in January. At the time, 36 homeless people told surveyors they had served in the military.

Money for the project included $1.5 million from the Washington Department of Commerce Housing Trust Fund, $2.1 million from the county’s one-tenth of 1 percent chemical dependency and mental health sales tax; and $449,000 from Snohomish County Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Rice said.

Residents will pay 30 percent of their income for rent with the remainder coming from a veterans benefit voucher program.

Veterans can remain as long as they wish. “We know we’ll serve some that will want to keep this their home indefinitely,” Hart-Anderson said. Others will want to move on.

“It’s a fantastic resource for the community,” she said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

Sebastian Place

20 units of housing for homeless veterans

Planning for the project began in 2011

Building is at 1925 196th St. SW in Lynnwood

Estimated cost: $4 million

How to help

Catholic Community Services needs welcome baskets with items needed by veterans moving into new apartments, such as cleaning supplies, pots and pans, dishes, twin sheets, blankets, linens, and pillows. They also are accepting donations to pay for furnishing the rooms with bed frames, mattresses, mattress covers, night stands and small dining table with chairs. For information about donations or the veteran’s housing project, contact Kelli Mathis at the CCS’s Everett Family Center at 425-374-6334 or at KelliM@ccsww.org.

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