Nov 20Expanding south to Vancouver, WA
Mercy Housing Northwest (MHNW) is launching a new partnership with PeaceHealth and expanding our reach down south with a brand new project in Vancouver, WA. Communities are in dire need of affordable housing, with a third of low-wage working households spending more than half of their incomes on housing costs. We will create 70 affordable homes for families in the North Garrison Heights neighborhood, adjacent to PeaceHealth’s Southwest Medical Campus. PeaceHealth donated land for the development and an incredible $2.4 million in capital funding to get us started, so we can together meet the community’s need for affordable housing. Both MHNW and PeaceHealth can retrace our roots to being founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace.
This exciting partnership builds upon our collaboration with the PeaceHealth system on Eleanor Apartments, an 80-apartment senior property in Bellingham, WA that we completed in 2017. PeaceHealth has provided ongoing health education and philanthropic support for Resident Services, investing in the ways MHNW and residents truly build community. “We recognize that our role of caring for our community goes well beyond the walls of our clinics and hospitals. We believe that collaborating with organizations like Mercy Housing Northwest is critical toward finding the best community wellness solutions,” says Sean Gregory, Chief Executive of PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. This partnership is a great opportunity to continue our work in integrating health and housing more closely.
The new development will feature six 3-story, wood frame, garden-style apartment buildings. Each building will feature 10-12 apartments, including one-, two-, and three-bedrooms, that will serve lower-wage individuals, families with children, seniors, and persons with disabilities. Half of the apartments will be reserved for households earning up to a third of area median income, meaning households earning just under $23,000 a year and the other half for households earning up to 50% AMI (or about $37,000 annually). Other set-asides will be for larger families with children and persons with disabilities. Future residents can expect to pay about a third less than they would at market rate. This will be one of the very few tax-credit projects in the City of Vancouver, filling a gap in affordable housing options for lower-income residents.
MHNW is committed to providing onsite resident services at this new location. The building will also feature a large, welcoming community room with a computer lab and a kitchen for events and activities with residents and the Vancouver community.
It will be located in a family-oriented neighborhood, near parks, churches, retail and medical facilities. Residents will have access to more jobs, as it is close to public transit and to PeaceHealth, one of the largest employers in Clark County.
MHNW is partnering with MWA Architects, a firm based in Portland, OR, to design this new community. MWA is a minority-owned firm, with experience working on affordable housing developments within the City of Vancouver. In addition, we are working closely with our longtime partners, Walsh Construction Co., to determine the cost of construction on this development. They are well versed in developing affordable housing in the larger Portland metro area, which is a new market for us.
We hope to break ground on the community in fall 2020 and for families to begin moving in around the holidays of 2022, as we spend the next several months securing full funding for the development. To date, the development has received two funding awards from the City of Vancouver, philanthropic commitment from PeaceHealth, and vouchers from the Vancouver Housing Authority. We look forward to keeping MHNW supporters apprised of our progress to bring high-quality affordable housing to a new community for us!
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