The empty lot that Edmonds Lutheran Church recently sold to Housing Hope. Construction is expected to start next year. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The empty lot that Edmonds Lutheran Church recently sold to Housing Hope. Construction is expected to start next year. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Housing Hope to build affordable housing near Edmonds church

The nonprofit housing developer is planning 52 apartments for homeless and low-income households.

EDMONDS — Housing Hope, a nonprofit and affordable housing developer, intends to build 52 apartments on a lot next to Edmonds Lutheran Church. Construction is to start this year.

“This is really executing on our plan to at least compete for and try to start a new project every year,” Housing Hope CEO Fred Safstrom said. “… It’s going to be a very attractive, nice project.”

The Edmonds Lutheran Church is selling the land to Housing Hope. Currently an empty lot, the site is close to Highway 99 and public transit. Pastor Tim Oleson said the congregation has wanted to develop it into affordable housing for at least the past 20 years.

“The congregation is delighted,” Oleson said. “They’re delighted and ecstatic to see a longtime dream of theirs coming to fruition.”

Safstrom expects to submit plans to the city of Edmonds sometime in May, but he said the project is already fully funded. The nonprofit’s next step is to obtain permits from the city.

“We are deeply engaged with the architect in getting the plans ready for submission,” Safstrom said.

The development — Housing Hope’s first in south Snohomish County — is expected to host low-income households and homeless families.

In addition to housing, the nonprofit also offers its tenants social services meant to keep them housed and to help them find employment. The income limit for the apartments is 50% of the area median income, or $57,850 for a family of four. The income limit for a single resident is $40,500. Half of the apartments are meant for homeless families.

The Housing Authority of Snohomish County board recently approved 26 vouchers for the development. When tenants live in an apartment with a project-based voucher, they only pay what they can afford. The government covers the rest. Unlike a Section 8 voucher, however, the subsidy stays with the apartment when a tenant leaves.

“This is one project I really don’t want to see drop,” housing authority Executive Director Duane Leonard told the board. “Housing Hope is a great partner, and we’re there to support the partnership. That’s what we’re doing by offering project-based vouchers.”

The apartment complex is to include six one-bedroom apartments, 34 two-bedroom apartments and 12 three-bedroom apartments. Safstrom said it will also include a community room for residents to gather, offices for social services and employment counselors, and outdoor play spaces for children. Designs Northwest Architects is designing it.

Safstrom expects construction to take about 15 months. If the city approves permits for the project quickly, residents could move into the apartment complex in late 2023 or early 2024.

Katie Hayes:; 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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