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For immediate release

For more information contact:
Rhonda Rosenberg, Director of Communications
King County Housing Authority
(206) 574-1185

Senator Murray Press Office
(202) 224-2834

Karina Jennings
Providence Health & Services of Washington
(425) 687-3702

Providence Health & Services / King County Housing Authority Awarded $9 Million to Build Affordable Housing for Low-income Seniors and Persons with Di

65-unit Providence Joseph House apartment complex will also provide 6,500 square-feet of community office space for nonprofit organizations

July 16, 2010

Providence Health & Services of Washington has been awarded $9.065 million in capital and operating funds to construct new housing for low-income seniors and persons with disabilities in the King County Housing Authority’s Seola Gardens community in White Center. The funds are part of more than $550 million in grants announced earlier this week through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 202 and Section 811 supportive housing programs for elderly and disabled households.  The funds will be used for 169 projects in 46 states.

“Housing programs for seniors on fixed incomes are critical to ensuring our most valued and vulnerable residents are protected,” said Sen. Patty Murray, chairman of the Senate Housing Appropriations subcommittee.  “I have worked hard to ensure funding for these vital programs so that we can improve and expand housing options for seniors.”

The King County Housing Authority is providing a construction-ready site for the new complex, to be called Providence Joseph House.

Initial work on Seola Gardens has been jump-started by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  About 100 workers are currently engaged on the site and it is estimated that more than 1,500 workers will be employed before the project is completed. 

Providence Joseph House is part of the redevelopment of the former Park Lake Homes II public housing community in White Center at 4th Avenue Southwest and Southwest 108th Street.  Providence Health & Services will lease the site long-term and work with the Authority to construct the new five-story elevated building comprised of 54 one-bedroom and 10 two-bedroom rental apartment homes for very low-income tenants plus one unit for a resident manager. Six of the units will be fully accessible and one unit is designated for individuals with sensory impairments. The remainder of the units will be accessible to individuals in wheelchairs and can be fully adapted for disabled households.

Providence Joseph House overlooks Lakewood Park which offers green space, walking trails, and Lake Hicks.

The complex will also contain underground parking and 6,500 square-feet of community space that will serve both the Seola Gardens community and the surrounding neighborhood. Service providers include Neighborhood House, which will provide case management and youth tutoring, and the YWCA, which will oversee a computer lab. Highline Community College will offer English as a Second Language classes and flexible space will be available for the provision of employment training, after-school programs, and adult education.

Formerly a public housing complex, the Seola Gardens site is being redeveloped to serve a broader mix of income levels, but will retain the same number of federally subsidized units for extremely low-income households on-site.  When completed, the community will include 177 affordable, energy-efficient rental units and 107 for-sale homes. The 30-acre site will include a mix of open space, trails, and rain gardens.

Construction on Providence Joseph House is scheduled to start in the spring of 2011 and complete by the end of 2012.

The Section 202 program expands the supply of affordable housing with supportive services for the elderly. It provides capital and operating funds to nonprofit organizations that develop and operate housing for seniors with very low incomes. Residents pay 30 percent of their income for rent and utilities.

According to HUD, senior households with very low incomes are the likeliest to pay more than they can afford for their housing.

“Along with health care, housing availability for the region’s poorest seniors is the most important issue facing our growing older population,” said Tim Zaricznyj, housing director at Providence Health & Services. “This grant allows us to create new housing and ensure a quality living environment for our most vulnerable neighbors.”

As part of the service programming at Providence Joseph House, Providence Health & Services will offer a continuum of health care services to the residents. An on-site service coordinator will help residents assess and prioritize their needs. Shuttle transportation services and visits from a mobile food bank will be provided.

The shortage of affordable housing for the region’s poorest seniors was recently documented in Quiet Crisis: Age Wave Maxes Out Affordable Housing, King County 2008-2025, a community report commissioned by the region’s Aging and Disability Services, KCHA, and other local public agencies and released in 2008. The report projects that the number of poor seniors in King County will double to 53,793 by 2025.  Even assuming the poverty rate doesn’t increase, the region will need to provide nearly 16,000 additional units (or 900 units annually) of subsidized housing to maintain the current ratio of affordable housing units to poor seniors.

“We are enormously grateful for Senator Murray’s support on this project,” said Stephen Norman, executive director of the KCHA. “Seniors who are dependent solely on Social Security can see housing costs consume up to 80 percent of their monthly income. Without an increase in housing for poor seniors on fixed incomes, this is a prescription for homelessness.”

Additional funding for Providence Joseph House will be provided through low-income housing tax credits, a $1.5 million low-interest loan from the Washington State Housing Trust Fund, operating funds provided by KCHA, and other sources.

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