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June 27, 2022

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Two Longview senior care organizations receive more than $1M in state support for capital projects

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Two long-serving Longview senior care facilities were budgeted for capital projects in the Washington state legislative session that ended April 25.

The budget awaits Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature.

The 50-year-old affordable senior independent living facility Campus Towers is slated to receive $301,000 for roof repairs.

The 37-year-old inpatient and at-home hospice facility Community Home Health & Hospice will receive $765,000 toward a multi-million-dollar remodel.

Campus Towers

Campus Towers Administrator Marchelle Knapp said the nonprofit’s 30-year-old roof is “in desperate need of repair.”

The roof isn’t leaking into any of the facility’s 89 units yet, but she said a water issue is inevitable without improvements. Staff has blocked cracks as a temporary fix.

The cost of the roof repair nearly matches the state funds, Knapp said. Repairs are scheduled to start this summer.

The money saved on improvements will allow the faith-based nonprofit to maintain its discounted rent offerings.

“It’s expensive to build and keep rents affordable,” Knapp said. “We don’t have the capacity to add to the rent and still serve the people we serve.”

Campus Towers is an eight-story apartment complex on Ocean Beach Highway that offers affordable rent for seniors on a fixed income.

Half of the units are studios and half are one-bedroom.

A studio apartment and utilities costs $361-$442 per month, based on applicants’ finances, Knapp said. Renters do not pay more than 30% of their monthly income.

She said the rent levels are designed so someone living off of Social Security alone could afford Campus Towers.

The facility is so popular, Knapp said there is a three-year waitlist.

“So that tells you the desperate need for more affordable housing,” she said.

The facility is preparing to build additional space soon. Staff is in the design phase of a plan to tear down a dilapidated duplex on Campus Towers property to add a seven-unit complex.

Washington State Rep. Jim Walsh helped secure funds, Knapp said. In a letter to The Daily News, Knapp also said Walsh helped Campus Towers apply for grants to replace the facility’s aged water pipes in 2020.

Hospice facility

Funds from the state and a $1 million private donation have brought Community Home Health & Hospice nearly halfway to its goal of raising $4.2 million to renovate its 11th Avenue facility.

The facility will be renamed after the private donor, who will be revealed this summer, according to Community Home Health & Hospice CEO Greg Pang.

Pang said construction could begin in 2024 and wrap up in 2026.

The $765,000 in state support encourages additional donors, he said.

“It inspires others to get on board,” Pang said. “People can see it’s a viable project.”

The nonprofit is remodeling its building to prepare for the next airborne pandemic based on the lessons learned fighting COVID-19.

Plans include installing entryway chambers in patient rooms to don and remove personal protective equipment, like face shields.

Six additional patient rooms with negative airflow also will be added. Negative airflow allows air from a patient room to be filtered before it is expelled outside the building and is used to prevent any airborne pathogens from escaping to other parts of the building.

“In future pandemics, we will be better set up to accommodate more patients,” Pang said. “The pandemic did underscore for us that we have an opportunity to really impact the infection control and respond to the pandemic in ways the current facility won’t allow us to do.”

Plans also include expanding patient rooms, the kitchen and laundry room.

A dedicated entrance and exit to the building will be added to avoid grieving family members from passing families of newly arrived patients in the entryway.

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