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News / Clark County News

3 Clark County agencies to get $19M total to boost affordable housing

Projects will provide units in Vancouver, Felida and Battle Ground

By Mia Ryder-Marks, Columbian staff reporter
Published: January 18, 2024, 6:03pm

Several Clark County agencies are the recipients of nearly $19 million in state funding to build more affordable housing.

The funding streams from the Washington Department of Commerce, which announced Thursday that it is distributing $312 million to various housing development projects across Washington. The funding will go to 73 projects — three of which are in Clark County.

The Native American Youth Association will receive $5 million for its Vancouver Waterfront Gateway project; the Vancouver Housing Authority will receive $5 million for its Weaver Creek Commons apartments in Battle Ground; and Specialized Housing Inc. will receive $8.5 million for Felida Park Senior Housing.

Commerce Director Mike Fong said this is the single largest funding round to date.

“Our expectation is that the funding will yield more units between rental housing, and homeownership opportunities (that will) help us move the needle on our housing needs going into the future,” Fong said.

‘Homelessness is a housing problem’

Like the rest of the state, Clark County is severely lacking in affordable housing. According to a 2021 study by the National Low Income Housing Alliance, Vancouver had 22 affordable homes per 100,000 low-income households.

The lack of affordable housing is funneling more people into homelessness. In 2022, more than 9,000 people in the county experienced some form of homelessness.

“We know that homelessness is a housing problem. And increasing the supply is one of our topmost priorities,” said Corina Grigoras, the commerce department’s assistant director of housing.

Commerce’s funding aims to fill the gap.

Vancouver Housing Authority’s Weaver Creek Commons apartments will supply Battle Ground with around 100 more affordable units.

Felida Park Senior Housing will be an affordable housing complex for seniors. The development will be in the Felida and Salmon Creek area of Clark County. The 65-unit complex will include a large PACE facility, which will offer an array of health and wellness services. The facility will serve Felida Park residents and all qualified seniors in Clark County age 55 or older who are Medicaid long-term care eligible.

The building will be three stories and include one- and two-bedroom apartments.

No additional information was available Thursday about NAYA’s project. The Vancouver Waterfront Gateway lies on the north side of the BNSF Railway berm, north of The Waterfront Vancouver, near Vancouver City Hall. The city recently selected a company to do a master development plan for the area.

In other parts of the state, commerce’s funding, about $274 million, will result in more than 3,443 multifamily and rental housing units, including housing for people with disabilities. More than $38 million will fund 25 projects that will create opportunities for almost 500 low-income, first-time homebuyers.

“In addition to prioritizing equity in our investments, we strive to stretch state dollars as far as possible to help communities maximize affordable housing capacity,” Fong said.

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.