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Grant targets low-income seniors

The Korean Women’s Association’s dream of affordable housing for seniors in Federal Way is one step closer to reality.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development granted $400,000 to the Korean Women’s Association to construct supportive housing for low-income elderly residents.

The project will provide Federal Way’s low-income seniors with living arrangements that are safe, secure, clean, dignified and within their means, said Federal Way economic development director Patrick Doherty.

The Korean Women’s Association provides multi-cultural and multi-lingual services to primarily Asian, Pacific Islander, low-income and elderly persons. The association has served Federal Way for more than 20 years.

“They serve a diverse population of people who need housing. It’s not just Korean and it’s not just women,” Doherty said.

The grant will be used for predevelopment costs associated with the construction of a 62-unit complex near the Federal Way Transit Center, located at 23rd Avenue South and South 317th Street. The facility will offer social services for tenants in their own language. Services could include citizenship classes, help with taxes, literacy and counseling.

It will be a Section 202 complex and will house very low-income seniors. Residents must have an income less than 50 percent of the area median. Nationally, a one-person household would need an income equal to or less than $20,850 a year to qualify. In Federal Way, the median income is slightly higher than the national average.

Doherty said that the transit center area is an optimal location for the project.

“By locating it next to the transit center, it’s helping people who have mobility obstacles,” he said. “It’s in the city center so depending on how mobile the residents are, there’s certainly a variety of goods and services that are within walking distance.”

The project also received $8,592,300 in grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in October 2007.

The final cost of the project is estimated at $25 million. Organizers hope to receive more financial assistance from the State Housing Trust Fund, King County, private foundations, low-income tax credits and the City of Federal Way.

The Korean Women’s Association expects to have the facility in operation by 2010.

Contact Margo Hoffman: mhoffman@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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