Mercy Housing Northwest and its funding partners celebrated on Wednesday the completion of a multi-million dollar rural housing preservation initiative in Thurston and Lewis Counties. The results include full renovation and energy efficiency upgrades of 92 affordable senior apartments in three southwest Washington communities. The senior housing developments are located in Tenino, Centralia and Winlock.
The redevelopment project represents the latest effort in Mercy Housing Northwest’s decade-long commitment to revitalize and preserve rural affordable housing for seniors and families in Washington State.
The three properties were built in the late 1970s and early 1980s with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Agency. Mercy Housing Northwest (MHNW) acquired these properties 10 years ago from a retiring private developer as part of a 926-unit portfolio, to protect residents from rent increases. Working with USDA Rural Development and private funders over the past year, MHNW was able to complete extensive rehabilitation work, including new roofs and siding, upgrades to appliances and fixtures, and improved plumbing and electrical systems. The project followed a compressed timeline so that the seniors who live in the three properties would need to vacate their homes for only 30 days while the construction was completed.
“It’s not always easy to find an apartment that I can afford,” said Harriet Felton, resident of Cambridge Apartments. “So when Mercy told me about the construction, I didn’t know what to expect. But overall, it was a wonderful experience and I have a beautiful place I can really call home. It’s my little slice of heaven.”
The redevelopment was made possible by a $9.5 million Low-Income Housing Tax Credit investment from Key Community Development Corporation, syndicated by Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. (Enterprise). Since 2011, nearly $300 million in housing credits has been allocated to 33 affordable housing developments in Washington State under the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program.
The USDA Rural Development provides on-going rental assistance for the senior residents. Mario Villanueva, state director of the Rural Development Agency, said, “Our housing programs work to improve the quality of life for rural Americans by ensuring that they have access to safe, well-built, affordable homes, so we are pleased by this type of partnership.”
Preserving affordability for Washington’s seniors and families: Residents of these three apartment communities are lower-income seniors and disabled residents, with an average annual income of $11,000. Many of the apartments have rental subsidy that allows residents to pay just 30 percent of their income for rent.
Creating jobs and improving the economy: More than 200 construction workers participated in the redevelopment and more than a dozen construction jobs were created, four of which will be permanent. Seventy-five percent of the workforce on the project was locally sourced from the South Puget Sound area. Buchanan General Contracting and Tonkin Hoyne Architecture & Design oversaw the construction.
Promoting sustainable buildings. The project made use of green building practices, recycled construction waste, and included significant energy efficiency upgrades, lowering the monthly costs of utilities and reducing the building’s carbon footprint.
Completing portfolio-scale preservation. Using federal “Section 4” Community Development Capacity-Building grants provided by Enterprise Community Partners, Mercy Housing Northwest has developed a multi-year plan to upgrade its rural affordable housing properties. The celebration marked the tenth property renovated by Mercy Housing Northwest in the past three years, and will be followed by preservation of three affordable senior housing properties with 84 apartments in rural Skagit County this fall.
“We are pleased that this project will extend the affordability of these properties for decades,” said Bill Rumpf, president of Mercy Housing Northwest. “By making these buildings more sustainable and livable, this project ensures that seniors in these communities have the high quality and safe housing they deserve, at rents they can afford.”
“Enterprise is committed to the preservation of affordable housing in our state’s rural communities. This amazing transformation shows the continued need for housing credits and predevelopment grants,” said M.A. Leonard, VP and Pacific Northwest market leader, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. “Affordable housing in smaller communities is especially crucial for our senior population, ensuring they can age in place in a supportive community.”
“As the limited partner and largest investor, KeyBank takes this achievement very personally,” said Jennifer Seamons, who handles equity investments in affordable housing in the Northwest for Key Community Development Corporation. “The transformation here exceeds the sum total of new siding, windows, carpet and appliances. This is a beautiful place for residents to call home.”
About Mercy Housing and Mercy Housing Northwest
Mercy Housing Northwest (MHNW) is a leading developer and operator of affordable, service-enriched housing in Washington State. As part of a strong national organization in Mercy Housing Inc., MHNW offers expertise and a track record of successfully developing outstanding housing for people with limited incomes. Mercy Housing Northwest has developed and currently manages more than 1,870 affordable homes in 45 properties located in 16 Washington Counties, serving more than 4,000 residents daily. We have engaged in more than $160 million in development activity in Washington State since 2009. For more information about Mercy Housing Northwest, please visit mercyhousingnorthwest.org.
Enterprise works with partners nationwide to build opportunity. We create and advocate for affordable homes in thriving communities linked to jobs, good schools, health care and transportation. We lend funds, finance development and manage and build affordable housing, while shaping new strategies, solutions and policy. Over more than 30 years, Enterprise has created 300,000 homes, invested nearly $14 billion and touched millions of lives. Join us at www.EnterpriseCommunity.com or www.EnterpriseCommunity.org.
KeyCorp was organized more than 160 years ago and is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. One of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies, Key had assets of approximately $89.2 billion at March 31, 2013.
Through Key Community Development Corporation, Key makes equity investments in affordable housing, historic rehabilitation, small business investment companies and community development venture capital funds throughout Key’s retail footprint.
KeyCorp provides deposit, lending, cash management and investment services to individuals and small and mid-sized businesses in 14 states under the name KeyBank National Association. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information about Key, visit www.key.comor follow Key on Twitter@KeyBank_News and @KeyBank_ Thrive. KeyBank is Member FDIC.