Work is half completed on The Pacific, an 18-unit apartment building in central Vancouver for people exiting homelessness and who have behavioral health issues.
Expected to open this winter, it will be the first completed project from Housing Initiative, a subsidiary of Council for the Homeless. The Pacific is a “labor of love” that began when the nonprofit took a leap of faith and created Housing Initiative, Kate Budd, the council’s executive director, said during an event Friday at The Pacific. The Community Foundation for Southwest Washington provided a pre-development loan to get the project started.
Andy Silver, CEO of Housing Initiative, said there was certainly risk involved in launching Housing Initiative, but there was also a risk in doing nothing. We need more housing for people coming out of homelessness, he said.
The Pacific will cost $2.75 million and didn’t rely on traditional funding sources, such as low-income housing tax credits or HOME, a federally-funded block grant program. In his first foray into housing development Silver learned “it takes a tremendous amount of coordination and effort” to see through a housing project from start to finish, he said during an interview with The Columbian.
Decisions made along the way can impact who the project ends up serving. For instance, Isabella Court II, a project about a mile away that recently opened, was initially intended for low-income seniors but ended up serving extremely low-income families due to the way funding came together. Rising construction costs add another layer of complication. Silver said Housing Initiative was able to ensure The Pacific will house the people it initially set out to help. Funding came from Clark County, Vancouver’s Affordable Housing Fund and PeaceHealth.