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Saturday, March 2, 2024
March 2, 2024

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Vancouver gains new apartment building for low-income seniors

Miles Terrace near downtown has 69 units

By , Columbian staff writer
6 Photos
Future resident Deone Washington tours a one-bedroom unit during the grand opening ceremony for Miles Terrace, a new 69-unit affordable housing complex for low-income seniors in downtown Vancouver, on Friday afternoon. "This is going to be a blessing for me," he said.
Future resident Deone Washington tours a one-bedroom unit during the grand opening ceremony for Miles Terrace, a new 69-unit affordable housing complex for low-income seniors in downtown Vancouver, on Friday afternoon. "This is going to be a blessing for me," he said. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Deone Washington lives at Esther Short Commons, an apartment complex in downtown Vancouver. The 69-year-old enjoys living there, but sometimes he wonders: What would it be like to live somewhere more affordable, with other tenants closer to his age? What if he could have a room that was all Americans with Disabilities Act accessible, making it easier for him to get around in his wheelchair? What if there was a community garden where he could plant his favorite flowers?

In one week, he won’t have to wonder anymore, because a four-story, 69-unit development for low-income seniors age 55 or older is opening near downtown Vancouver, and Washington is near the top of the list for an apartment.

“This is going to be a blessing for me,” he said.

It couldn’t come at a better time. Washington recently suffered a stroke and is recovering from surgery. Now, he will be able to convalesce in his new home.

“I’m looking forward to more simplicity, to living around people my own age,” he said.

A grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at Miles Terrace, 1503 Esther St., on Friday. The event included speakers and a tour of the new facility.

“We know that Vancouver is a wonderful place to live in,” Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle said. “It should be a wonderful place for all of our residents, whether they own or whether they rent. And our growing population, especially our senior population, wants more options that are affordable and comfortable, allowing them to stay right here in Vancouver. Congratulations to everyone involved in this project. It’s a joy to see.”

The facility was developed by the Vancouver Housing Authority in partnership with Ginn Group and Works Progress Architecture. The project was funded by a variety of sources, including the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, the city of Vancouver Affordable Housing Fund, PNC Real Estate and Umpqua Bank.

Ginn Group developed the land and serves as the project’s general contractor. The Vancouver Housing Authority owns and operates the building.

“Of the 69 units, 25 are already leased. And we are hoping, and actually expecting, that we’ll have 100 percent occupancy by the end of September,” Vancouver Housing Authority Board of Commissioners Chair Joan Caley said. “There’s a lot of interest in this building.”

Miles Terrace will be managed by Key Property Services, the same company that manages Vista Court and Van Vista, two other Vancouver Housing Authority properties.

“They have a history of providing quality property management for senior development,” Caley said. “We’re really excited that Key is going to be working with us on this.”

The development features studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. Amenities include 48 covered parking spaces, secure mail and storage areas, ground floor office space, social spaces, elevators, a community garden, covered and secure bicycle parking, a business center, a cafe and laundry facilities on each residential floor.

Units will cost between $1,100 and $1,400 per month, and rent subsidies are available that will cut the cost by up to 35 percent.

“These are people in the community that mean something to us, and they need to be able to afford a safe, accessible place to live,” Clark County Treasurer Alishia Topper said.

To apply for one of the units, call Key Property Services at 360-695-1538, or visit www.kpsinc.net.

Miles Terrace is opening as the number of seniors experiencing homelessness is increasing in Clark County.

There were 97 seniors experiencing homelessness on Feb. 24 in Clark County, a 57 percent increase compared with January 2020. That’s according to Council for the Homeless’ point in time count, an annual census of the local homeless population that is conducted on a single day. (The census wasn’t conducted in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

However, the number of sheltered seniors age 62 or older increased 157 percent in 2022 compared with January 2020. That’s because the Vancouver Housing Authority prioritized that population for the new Bertha’s shelters that opened in 2021, according to the point in time count.

“Seniors need a place where they can mingle, where they can grow together,” said Art Miles, former chair of the Vancouver Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, and who Miles Terrace is dedicated to. “Most important is all the people that are going to be able to live here that couldn’t have otherwise lived in a place this nice. This is fantastic. This is going to be a place where they can enjoy their senior years, and that’s what it’s all about.”