Catholic Community Services breaks ground on housing for homeless veterans

LYNNWOOD — A small ceremony Thursday on a vacant lot in the Alderwood Manor area marked the culmination of a five-year process to provide housing for homeless veterans.

The ceremony started with a color guard from the U.S. Navy, a prayer from Deacon Joe Shriver of Holy Cross Catholic Church and finished with a photo op of dignitaries holding golden shovels in a pile of dirt.

A year from now, the small lot off Filbert Road will have permanent housing for 20 chronically homeless veterans with on-site services, including chemical dependency treatment, counseling, job placement and skills development.

Catholic Community Services of Western Washington developed the project on the site of a former trailer park. The nonprofit is in the final stages of purchasing the property, said Vicki Howell, the organization’s housing developer.

The project is being funded by $1.5 million from the state Housing Trust Fund and $2.6 million from Snohomish County Human Services.

Plans call for three residential buildings on site and one community building that includes a common laundry and kitchen and offices for social services, said Timothy Quinn, a principal of Seattle-based Tonkin Architecture, which designed the project.

The residential units will be one-bedroom apartments of about 300-square-feet and with their own entrances. At least two of them will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Quinn said.

Construction is expected to begin at the end of June and should last about eight months, he said.

Howell said that Catholic Community Services will work with the county to identify who the future tenants will be.

Snohomish County has applied for federal Veterans Administration Supported Housing vouchers, but even if the application is turned down, the county plans to provide housing vouchers of their own to ensure that veterans will be able to afford living there, Howell said.

As a result, rents will be set at 30 percent of veterans’ income, no matter what level of income they have, she said.

Jerry Gadek, Snohomish County’s veterans service officer, told the assembled dignitaries that veterans are giving all the parties involved in the project a big “Tango Yankee” (thank you).

“We take over your watch from here, and welcome you to your new home,” Gadek said.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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