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Federal Way receives $1.69 million grant to restore foreclosures in Westway neighborhood

Federal Way has received a $1.69 million grant to restore and rehabilitate homes in the low-income Westway neighborhood.

The grant is part of the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The state Department of Commerce recently awarded a total of $4.8 million for the program’s third phase. Federal Way’s share will go toward 14 vacant and foreclosed properties in the Westway neighborhood, located near Southwest 334th Street and 21st Avenue Southwest.

Westway has made significant strides in raising quality of life and reducing crime over the past several years, thanks in part to local residents and organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and AmeriCorps.

Habitat for Humanity has already rebuilt or renovated dozens of homes in Westway. With the new grant, Habitat for Humanity will purchase 14 properties, then seek reimbursement through the city, which will then seek reimbursement through the state, said Bryant Enge, Federal Way’s administrative services director.

“The city has been emphasizing stability in terms of homeownership,” said Enge, adding that the city will contribute $50,000 to pay for permits for this latest round of projects. For the Westway restorations, the city is also spending roughly $300,000 from Community Development Block Grants, he said.

In 2009, the city received about $700,000 in grant money through the first round of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to go toward down payment assistance. At that time, 11 homes were purchased in Federal Way by Habitat for Humanity. The state housing commission helped locate low-income residents who qualified for assistance with up to 20 percent of a home’s down payment.

“Housing’s a huge issue in Federal Way,” said Chris Carrel, the city’s grant and communication coordinator. “We’ve had some high rates of foreclosure. You have to pay attention to your neighborhoods, particularly in times like these.”

 

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