King County partners with Federal Way nonprofit to house veterans

Through federal subsidies, 33 formerly homeless veterans at the Multi-Service Center will see their future home break ground next month.

Through federal subsidies, 33 formerly homeless veterans at the Multi-Service Center will see their future home break ground next month.

The King County Housing Authority was recently awarded rental subsidies from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, commonly known as HUD. The money will benefit the Federal Way-based Multi-Service Center Veterans Project.

The vouchers, part of a recent award of 92 vouchers received by Housing Authority through the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program, will provide ongoing rental subsidies at the first supportive housing complex dedicated to homeless veterans south of Renton.

“These vouchers are an important boost in the effort to end homelessness among veterans in King County and across our state,” said Senator Patty Murray. “Each voucher represents a permanent home and essential supportive services for someone who served heroically, but is struggling to find stable housing. By providing our veterans with a roof over their heads and the services they need and deserve, they can start to rebuild their lives. I’m proud to work with the King County Housing Authority to fulfill our responsibility to support those who have sacrificed so much for our country, and I will continue to support this vital program that is moving us forward in our fight to end homelessness among veterans.”

The program combines permanent rental assistance with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Homeless veterans are referred into the Housing Authority by the local VA Medical Center and receive assistance from dedicated VA caseworkers in finding and maintaining his or her housing. Including this recent award, the Housing Authority administers a total of 402 Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers for homeless and disabled vets.

“It should be unacceptable that there are veterans − men and women who have served their country – living on our streets,” said King County Housing Authority Executive Director Stephen Norman. “There is widespread support in the community for this program. We’re enormously grateful to Sen. Patty Murray for her commitment to ending homelessness among vulnerable, chronically homeless veterans and their families. These vouchers will make a huge impact.”

Located on Pacific Highway South near transportation and services including the Federal Way Vet Center, a library, shopping, health care facilities, and the Multi-Service Center Federal Way Veterans Project will break ground this December, with the first residents moving into their apartments in late 2015.

The new building, which is being co-developed by the center and Shelter Resources, Inc., will include a total of 45 units and house both homeless individual veterans and veterans with families. Rents in the units are subsidized through the program’s vouchers will be set at approximately 30 percent of the household income.

“This is an incredible opportunity to give back to veterans and help meet the enormous need for affordable housing and complementary services that exists in South King County,” said Robin Corak, chief executive officer of the Multi-Service Center. “Additionally, I’m excited to be collaborating with so many great partners, all of whom are contributing an important piece to big picture that will mean stability and success for the veterans who will live here.”

Many homeless veterans suffer from physical ailments and/or mental distress, including post-traumatic stress disorder. The already difficult re-entry process for many veterans and their families is made worse by the lack of affordable housing. At the Multi-Service Center Federal Way Veterans Project, veterans will receive an array of services linked to the VA Puget Sound Health Care System.

According to the 2014 One Night Count, South King County has the largest concentration of low-income veterans in King County.

“I believe we owe a debt to our brave service members, and I’m pleased that this new supportive housing complex for veterans is located in our city,” said Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell. “This beautiful new facility will not only provide a great place to live, but will also help ease the range of challenges that these valiant men and women confront when they return from service.”

The $13 million apartment complex, designed by Baylis Architects, will consist of four stories with 22 one-bedroom units, eight two-bedroom units and three three-bedroom units. Apartments will be fully furnished and wired for Internet access and other amenities and will include a secure, staffed lobby with closed circuit TV monitoring systems.

In addition to the vouchers, funding for the project comes from federal low-income housing tax credits, the King County Veterans and Human Services levy, the state Housing Trust Fund, the Federal Home Loan Bank – Seattle and the Home Depot Foundation.