Housing for the homeless is coming late this year or early 2021 to Kent’s West Hill.
Construction continues on a four-story, 80-unit housing complex at the northeast corner of South 240th Street and 32nd Avenue South, just east of the Lowe’s store and west of Interstate 5. The complex will house the general homeless population and homeless veterans.
“We know that many people experiencing homelessness in Kent and South King County would like to continue to live in the area, but we do not have sufficient supportive housing resources to meet the demand,” said Michelle Umadhay, senior housing developer for Catholic Housing Services, in an email. “We hope that many people experiencing homelessness in Kent and South King County will be able to be housed in this building.”
Construction is expected to be completed near the end of December, Umadhay said. People will be able to move in late this year or early 2021.
Seattle-based Catholic Community Services/Catholic Housing Services, is the human service outreach arms of the Catholic Church in Western Washington. 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.
King County and the King County Housing Authority approved the development to receive 80 project based vouchers, including 44 Section 8 vouchers to serve the general homeless population, and 36 vouchers through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program to serve homeless veterans. All vouchers will be administered by the King County Housing Authority.
Referrals for the Kent project will come through King County’s Coordinated Entry for All system, that accommodates referrals for all housing funded to support people moving in from homelessness. The apartment complex will provide permanent supportive housing for veterans and homeless individuals with chronic mental illness and substance abuse.
The 40-foot tall building will feature 69 studio and 11 one-bedroom units. The ground floor will have office space with 24/7 on-site staff.
Catholic Community Services reviewed more than 13 sites before finding the West Hill location that provides adequate access to public transportation, groceries, social services, Highline College and the space needed for development of a larger apartment building. Sound Transit’s light rail extension from SeaTac to Federal Way is scheduled for construction to start this year and to open in late 2024, with the Kent/Des Moines station just north of the apartment complex.
“We are grateful for the support we have received by our partners at the state, county, city and King County Housing Authority, which have made a project like this come to fruition,” Umadhay said. “It is through these partnerships that we able to address a part of the demand for supportive housing in South King County.”