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News / Business / Clark County Business

Housing projects in Vancouver designed to help more than 100 people exiting homelessness under construction

New apartment buildings, tiny homes cluster aims to house families

By Mia Ryder-Marks, Columbian staff reporter
Published: July 1, 2024, 6:04am
6 Photos
Homes wait to be moved to their final location Friday on O Street in Vancouver. Community Roots Collaborative is creating a pod of seven 730-square-foot tiny homes for people exiting homelessness.
Homes wait to be moved to their final location Friday on O Street in Vancouver. Community Roots Collaborative is creating a pod of seven 730-square-foot tiny homes for people exiting homelessness. (Taylor Balkom/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

As the weather heats up this summer, so is development of more affordable housing units in Vancouver.

Nonprofits and community developers are preparing to welcome more than 100 residents exiting homelessness into three new buildings under construction this summer.

These units will provide permanent supportive housing, a low-barrier affordable housing model that often includes health care and supportive services. Permanent supportive housing not only has historically decreased chronic homelessness in communities, it also is linked to lowering public costs associated with shelters, jails and hospitals.

The projects underway will help boost scarce affordable housing in Vancouver. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there were only 25 affordable units for every 100 low-income households in 2023, a slight jump from the 22 available units for every 100 households the previous year. The new buildings opening this year may continue to boost that number.

New beginnings

OHM West, a 30-unit apartment building by Open House Ministries at 1212 Jefferson St., will provide affordable apartment options for families making the transition from the nonprofit’s family shelter.

The apartment building will feature a variety of units, including studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom options. Located adjacent to the Open House Ministries campus, the building will provide residents with access to onsite resources, such as case management, educational programs, parenting support and weekly chapel services.

Lincoln Place II is a four-story, 40-unit permanent supportive housing project at 1110 W. 13th St., adjacent to Vancouver Housing Authority’s existing Lincoln Place at 1351 Lincoln Ave.

Lincoln Place II will provide housing to people coming out of chronic homelessness and who have complex physical and behavioral health conditions. Construction for the site is expected to begin at the end of July or early August, with an opening date of fall 2025.

A few miles east, a cluster of 730-square-foot tiny homes, each equipped with a kitchen, full bath, washer and dryer will soon welcome families. The project is by Community Roots Collaborative, a nonprofit developer of permanent, affordable tiny homes for people exiting homelessness in Clark County.

The 3600 O St. property will include seven tiny homes that will provide permanent housing for as many as 38 adults and children.

“Our shelters are full of families,” said Peggy Sheehan, executive director of Community Roots Collaborative. “I know this is not going to save the world, but it will save it for these seven families.”

According to last year’s Point-in-Time Count, an annual nationwide tally of homeless people, about 920 Clark County children under the age of 5 and 840 kids between 6 and 11 were homeless in 2022.

Community Roots Collaborative will begin placing homes with a crane at the O Street property today. Sheehan said the community is welcome to come watch from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

“We really couldn’t do any of this without the benefit of the community,” Sheehan said. “The city and state helped fund it, we’ve had tons of donors and people in the community that have given us anything from $10 up to $50,000. That’s the only way that we’ve been able to make this work.”

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.