Seattle-based Catholic Community Services/Catholic Housing Services plans to build an 80-unit housing complex for the homeless on Kent’s West Hill. COURTESY GRAPHIC

Seattle-based Catholic Community Services/Catholic Housing Services plans to build an 80-unit housing complex for the homeless on Kent’s West Hill. COURTESY GRAPHIC

Housing complex for homeless to be built on Kent’s West Hill

Project near Lowe’s store east of Pacific Highway South

Plans are underway to build a four-story, 80-unit housing complex for the general homeless population and homeless veterans on Kent’s West Hill.

Kent Supportive Housing LLC has filed a notice of application with the city of Kent to build a 40-foot tall building with 69 studio and 11 one-bedroom units at the northeast corner of South 240th Street and 32nd Avenue South, just east of the Lowe’s store. The ground floor will have office space with 24/7 on-site staff.

Construction should start in March and take about 16 months to complete, according to the city permit application.

Kent Supportive Housing is part of Seattle-based Catholic Community Services/Catholic Housing Services, the human service outreach arms of the Catholic Church in Western Washington.

“We are excited to develop this property due to its proximity to groceries, retail and Highline College, as well as the forthcoming light rail station and other public transportation which provides our residents with even more access to services and downtown Kent,” said Michelle Umadhay, housing and community developer for Catholic Housing Services, in an Oct. 4 email.

Catholic Community Services, which has an office in downtown Kent, runs homeless shelters in South King County.

“We were provided feedback that the shelters are running at capacity and that permanent supportive housing is much needed in South King County,” Umadhay said. “We had reviewed more than 13 sites before finding a site that not only provided adequate access to public transportation, groceries, social services, etc., but was also adequate for development of a larger apartment building.”

The apartment complex will provide permanent supportive housing for veterans and homeless individuals with chronic mental illness and substance abuse, according to the city permit application.

Catholic Housing Services has significant experience in owning and managing properties similar to this Kent development, including properties in Olympia, Tacoma, Bellingham, Lynnwood and North Seattle, Umadhay said.

The cost of the project is about $24 million, Umadhay said. The project is fully funded through an allocation of low-income housing tax credits by the Washington State Housing Financing Commission, a Housing Trust Fund award from the state Department of Commerce and a capital funding award from King County.

Catholic Community Services operates two programs for veterans in King County: Supportive Services for Veteran Families, which offers rapid-rehousing services; and the Michael’s Place Grant Per Diem transitional housing program that offers temporary housing to 18 homeless veterans. Experiences by Catholic Community Services with those programs as well its involvement in the Veteran Operational Leadership Team of King County, led the group to develop the Kent site.

Catholic Housing Services worked with the King County Housing Authority on the Kent complex, and that agency will provide 80 project-based vouchers for residents, Umadhay said. Forty-four vouchers are Section 8 and will serve the general homeless population, and 36 vouchers are through Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing to serve homeless veterans.

“Project based vouchers bring rent dollars that are utilized for resident services, such as case managers, which is pertinent to the transition of our formerly homeless residents into permanent housing,” Umadhay said. “These vouchers, which will all be administered by the King County Housing Authority, are a large factor in making this type of project possible.”

Before city approval, the project is subject to the Midway Design Review, said city planner Jason Garnham in an email. He said that is a separate application process (from the permit), which is intended to create “interesting and high quality” projects in the vicinity of future high capacity transit facilities.

The cities of Kent and Des Moines have approved the Midway Design Review with Sound Transit’s plans to extend light rail along Kent’s West Hill. Construction on light rail from SeaTac to Federal Way is expected to begin in 2019 and be completed by 2024. A new station is planned for near South 236th Street and Pacific Highway South, just south of Kent Des Moines Road.

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