King County Housing Authority to make two Kent public housing complexes accessible to disabled

The King County Housing Authority will modify eight units at two Kent public housing complexes to make them fully accessible to people with disabilities.

The remodeling is part of a $3.85 million project at 17 county housing complexes to comply with Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards, according to a housing authority media release.

Construction work is being funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus fund), intended to provide or preserve jobs across America. The money is part of a $4 billion boost for housing authorities nationwide to preserve and enhance the country’s public housing stock.

Four units each are scheduled for remodeling on Kent's East Hill at the Valli Kee Apartments, 23401 104th Ave. S.E., and the Cascade Apartments, 20500 106th Ave. S.E. Work has started at Valli Kee.

Crews will convert selected units with modifications to bathrooms, kitchens, and living areas to enable individuals who are mobility impaired, or have other physical disabilities, to live independently. Each unit will receive new appliances, interior doors and flooring.

“This initiative promotes quality of life, independence, and choice for people with disabilities,” said King County Housing Authority Executive Director Stephen Norman. “Not only will this project create homes that are fully accessible in a variety of locations, it will also provide good paying construction jobs for the community.”

About 38 workers from a variety of trades are expected to be employed on the project.

Most of KCHA’s public housing was built in the 1960s and 70s, decades before the Americans with Disabilities Act recognized the importance of providing equal opportunities, including housing opportunities, to persons with disabilities. Thirty-eight of the accessible units will be located in complexes that house low-income seniors and persons with disabilities; the remaining 21 units are scattered at various family developments around the county, including the two in Kent.

When the project is completed in the spring of 2011, nearly 5 percent of KCHA’s subsidized units will be UFAS compliant.

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