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Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Nov. 28, 2023

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Open House Ministries gains grant to build more affordable housing

Transitional apartment building to include 30 units, four floors

By , Columbian staff reporter
4 Photos
Open House Ministries received $1 million toward its new 30-unit transitional family apartment building, which is now under construction at 1212 Jefferson St. in Vancouver.
Open House Ministries received $1 million toward its new 30-unit transitional family apartment building, which is now under construction at 1212 Jefferson St. in Vancouver. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Faith-based nonprofit Open House Ministries received significant funding to continue its efforts in relieving family homelessness in Vancouver.

Last week, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, a nonprofit foundation, announced it would dispense over $26 million worth of funding to 93 agencies spanning the Pacific Northwest. Open House Ministries, which aids Vancouver families experiencing homelessness, was granted $1 million toward its new affordable housing unit called OMH West — anticipated to start welcoming families in spring 2024.

Open House Ministries received the highest funding among any agency in Washington. The grant will pool into the nonprofit’s general fund for developing the new facility.

Earlier this year, the organization broke ground on the property at 1212 Jefferson St. The 30-unit and four-floor building will provide affordable apartment options for families making the transition from the Open House Ministries’ family shelter.

The transitional apartment building will include a mixture of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. The ground floor will be a retail space for Secondhand Solutions Thrift Store and Wheel Deals Bicycle Shop, providing residents with vocational training.

The building is next to the Open House Ministries campus, and residents will have access to on-site resources, such as case management, educational programs, parenting and weekly chapel.

“Open House Ministries is a family shelter. But we do more than just that. (This funding) will allow us to move people into stable housing, and it’s going to continue to give families access to any services that they were in our formal program,” said executive director Renee Stevens. “It’s going to allow families to thrive until they’re completely ready to move into market rate.”

It is no secret that affordable housing in Vancouver is few and far between. Data captured from the National Low Income Housing Coalition show that in 2021 there were only 22 affordable home options for every 100 low-income households in Vancouver.

Stevens said that although the building is small in scale, it will still impact the families it serves and the community’s housing landscape.

“While it is a smaller project, I do think it’s going to make an impact on our affordable housing in our community,” said Stevens. “I know it’s only 30 units of affordable housing, but that’s 30 more units than we currently have.”

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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.

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