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News / Business / Clark County Business

Low-income senior apartments with all-inclusive care planned in Felida

The $30 million development will include a PACE program; apartments will be for those making 50 percent or less of area's median income

By Alexis Weisend, Columbian staff reporter
Published: July 2, 2024, 3:19pm
2 Photos
Oregon-based nonprofit Specialized Housing plans to build 65 units of low-income senior housing in Felida.
Oregon-based nonprofit Specialized Housing plans to build 65 units of low-income senior housing in Felida. (Contributed by Specialized Housing) Photo Gallery

Sixty-five units of housing for extremely low-income seniors and Clark County’s first Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly will be built in Felida.

Specialized Housing, an Oregon-based nonprofit that builds affordable housing for people with disabilities and seniors, is developing its first Washington property in Clark County.

Felida Park Senior Housing, 12314 N.W. 36th Ave., will serve people 55 and older who make between zero and 50 percent of the area median income, which works out to $0 to $41,300 per year for one person in Clark County. The roughly $30 million project, located near Felida Community Park with access to transit, will be three stories of one- and two-bedroom apartments.

Executive Director Brian McCarl said the nonprofit researched areas with the most need for housing before settling on unincorporated Clark County.

“What was identified … was a big unsatisfied demand, a deficit, really, of about 2,600 units of affordable housing in unincorporated Clark County,” McCarl said.

He said his team found there was a particular need for one- and two-bedroom units specifically for extremely low-income seniors. Thirty-three of the planned units will be reserved for seniors making between zero to 30 percent of the area’s median income or a maximum of $24,800 per year, he said.

“When you get into that income range of very low-income seniors (making) $15,000 a year or less, those people are often making choices between having safety and affordable housing over their heads and having enough food to eat.”

The average rent in Clark County, according to Apartments.com, is $1,520 for a one-bedroom apartment, while the average Social Security payment is $1,778, according to Bankrate.

“That population of very low-income seniors often have poor health outcomes because they just are economically disadvantaged,” McCarl said.

The nonprofit is partnering with the state to include a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly — often referred to as a PACE facility — in the development. The Medicare program provides medical and social services to people 55 and older.

The facility will be open to residents and any Clark County residents who require nursing home-level of care at the time of their program enrollment.

People could receive primary care, dental care, prescription drugs, nutrition services, and hospital and nursing home care if and when needed, according to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. Transportation to and from the center will also be provided.

“It is a big, comprehensive bear hug of services,” McCarl said.

Specialized Housing has been working for three years to make this project happen, McCarl said. The nonprofit received a $1,430,283 grant from the state’s Connecting Housing to Infrastructure Program, $949,473 of which will support infrastructure development, and the remaining $480,810 will pay for system development charges.

Originally, the state awarded the grant to Specialized Housing through Clark County, but county staff said they did not have the resources or capacity to manage the grant award. The Washington State Department of Commerce reallocated the grant to the city of Vancouver.

On Monday, the city agreed to manage the grant for a fee of $28,484.19. The funds will be provided to Specialized Housing as a low-interest loan, according to a city staff report.

Although the housing will be outside of Vancouver city limits, the project will ease the city’s housing burden, City Manager Eric Holmes said in a staff report.

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The Vancouver City Council asked staff Monday what consequences finding an alternative way to fund the project would have.

“To be honest, I don’t really see an alternative path forward,” said Hayley Woodbridge, an associate housing project coordinator with the city. “I think this is a really important project.”

Specialized Housing was originally supposed to break ground on the project Monday but that has been pushed to Sept. 1.

The development will take about a year and a half to build, according to McCarl.

Alexis Weisend: 360.735.4536; alexis.weisend@columbian.com; twitter.com/weisend_alexis

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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.