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Saturday, May 27, 2023
May 27, 2023

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Federal aid may boost Battle Ground housing project

Grant could get low-income rental complex on track

By , Columbian staff reporter

In 2021, the Vancouver Housing Authority applied for state funding for Weaver Creek Commons, an 80-unit low-income rental complex in Battle Ground. The authority didn’t receive funding, delaying development.

“We really want to get this project underway, because we haven’t done a project in Battle Ground in quite some time,” said Vancouver Housing Authority Chief Real Estate Officer Victor Caesar.

Now, incoming federal funds could get the project back on track. Clark County submitted its HOME Investment Partnerships American Rescue Plan Program allocation plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Friday.

The plan, which awaits federal approval, determines how the county will use about $2 million in funding for affordable housing and homelessness projects. If approved without revisions, $923,819 would go toward Weaver Creek Commons development.

Caesar noted that development in Battle Ground is more difficult than in Vancouver due to Vancouver’s affordable housing fund. “Since we don’t have access to that in Battle Ground, it’s really up to the team to sort of look around,” he said. “No rock goes unturned, as they say, to find funding.”

With HOME-ARP funds, Caesar estimates development for Weaver Creek Commons will start in 2024.

The county invited over 400 stakeholders, including service providers, housing developers, veteran organizations and more, to comment on the allocation plan’s development last winter.

According to the plan, the county’s funding breakdown will be: 46 percent toward affordable rental housing development; 32 percent toward tenant-based rental assistance; 15 percent toward administration and planning; and 7 percent toward social services.

Among the organizations receiving funding for rental assistance and social services are Share, Lifeline Connections, Janus Youth Programs, the Clark County YWCA and the Salvation Army.

Rental assistance

Lifeline Connections, a behavioral health organization, hopes to use funds to help Clark County residents get permanently housed, said Gina Van Dyken, Lifeline’s recovery supports director.

“That includes helping them with rental application fees, move-in assistance — funds that can help with security deposits, utility deposits — and then their rent and utility payments each month,” Van Dyken said.

HOME-ARP funding would be a continuation of the tenant-based rental assistance funding Lifeline already receives, she added.

“Our clients have one or more behavioral health disorders, and this is geared toward them,” she said. “Our goal is for them to be able to live independently and receive the appropriate support services so that they can achieve long-term housing stability.”

The county hopes to get approval or feedback from HUD within the next few weeks, according to Community Services Program Coordinator Emily Langston. If all goes smoothly, funding for rental assistance programs would roll out in January.

Community Funded Journalism logo

This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

Columbian staff reporter