MARYSVILLE — Housing Hope is building a low-income apartment complex that is expected to house 60 families. Construction began last week on phase two of the nonprofit’s Twin Lakes Landing development near Smokey Point.
“We view housing as a necessary foundation for really assisting persons that are experiencing homelessness,” Housing Hope CEO Fred Safstrom said. “If they don’t have a stable place to live, it is difficult to have the quality time you need with families to get to these problems or issues that are standing in their way.”
Half the apartments at Twin Lakes Landing II, located west of Interstate 5 near 172nd Street NE, will house residents who were previously homeless. The other 30 apartments will house residents who earn less than half of the area median income. For a family of four in Snohomish County, that is $57,850.
Residents are expected to move into the apartments in November 2022. Leasing will begin around April, Safstrom said. Housing Hope will offer services to the families who were formerly homeless. The services are voluntary but, Safstrom said, most people choose to participate. Then a family support coach meets with residents to determine what kind of help they need.
“The services program is very deep and very effective,” Safstrom said. “… The final solution, which is common for everybody, is having the capacity and ability to generate enough income to escape poverty.”
Housing Hope offers courses for life skills, such as budgeting and parenting. The nonprofit also has employment specialists who can help residents identify a career path.
The new complex marks the second phase of the nonprofit’s Twin Lakes Landing development on the six-acre property. Housing Hope has already built Twin Lakes Landing I, which is on the same property and has 50 apartments.
The budget for phase two is about $31 million. It will include four townhouse-style apartment buildings that are three stories tall.
Roughly half the money for the project comes from the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina, and U.S. Sen Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, introduced legislation in April that would expand the LIHTC.
If the legislation passes, Housing Hope would have the resources to double the number of affordable housing projects it builds every year. Safstrom said the nonprofit currently starts construction on one new affordable multifamily project every year. Housing Hope could start construction on two if the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2021 passes.
“At the rate we’re going right now, we’re a long ways away from solving our homeless problem in this county,” Safstrom said. “We need to increase the pace.”
U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, are co-sponsors of the bills.
“We need to make sure that Housing Hope and other organizations have the resources to continue their good work in the long term and at a larger scale,” DelBene said in a statement. “By passing the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, we can help build or preserve an estimated 2 million affordable housing units nationwide over the next decade and create good-paying jobs.”
Katie Hayes: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @misskatiehayes.
Katie Hayes is a Report for America corps member and writes about issues that affect the working class for The Daily Herald.
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