YAKIMA, WASH. - An unprecedented nonprofitprivate partnership in eastern Washington has developed 26 units of specialneeds housing that are sustainable in every sense of the word. Eight organizations collaborated to create Pear Tree Place, a $4.8 million development that provides drug- and alcohol-free living for recently sober, formerly homeless, and developmentally disabled individuals.
With 11 three-bedroom townhomes (including one unit for an on-site manager), Pear Tree Place is the first alcohol- and drug-free community in Yakima County to provide apartments sized for families seeking a clean and sober environment. The newly constructed development includes eight onebedroom units and seven two-bedroom units.
Eight units are set aside for households living with developmental disabilities, and six units are set aside for the homeless. The development was fully leased within the first month of operation, and 12 apartments, or 46 percent of the units, are housing households who were previously homeless.
Although developer and property manager Next Step Housing has been successfully serving developmentally disabled individuals and families in recovery from substance abuse for more that 15 years, it took seven organizations representing all aspects of the development to actualize Pear Tree Place. Participating nonprofits include Impact Capital, which provided technical assistance and predevelopment funding; property seller Enterprise Progress in the Community; the Office of Rural and Farmworker Housing; Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.; Triumph Treatment Services, which provides on-site case management services to residents in recovery; Pomegranate Center, which helped design the landscape, community gathering places, and overall site plan; and Yakima Neighborhood Health Services, which provides multiple services to homeless households.
In addition, the Yakima Housing Authority provided Sec. 8 support to homeless households, and the Department of Social & Health Services’ Division of Developmental Disabilities, Next Step Housing, Casa Hogar, Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health, and Yakima Neighborhood Health Services will provide links to community resources, case management, long-term care, child care, health screenings, life skills training, and other social services.
Pear Tree Place’s focus on long-term sustainability extends beyond supportive services, however. All six buildings at Pear Tree Place scored between 65 and 68 on the Home Energy Rater System— for an additional 25 percent efficiency above and beyond the Energy Star threshold.
The development also is the first in Yakima County to meet the Enterprise Green Communities criteria. The largest development challenge was the sheer number of funding sources, according to Bryan Ketcham of the Office of Rural and Farmworker Housing, which served as a tax credit and development consultant to Next Step Housing.
Meeting the project costs were $2.6 million in low-income housing tax credits awarded by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and syndicated by Enterprise Community Investment, Inc.; $1.6 million from the Washington State Housing Trust Fund; $200,000 in City of Yakima HOME funds; $161,500 in Yakima County 2060 funds; a $110,000 Washington Community Reinvestment Association loan; $50,000 from Washington Mutual Bank; a $48,035 anonymous donation; and $1,000 from Yakima Federal Savings and Loan Bank. The project also tapped a $28,000 Enterprise Green Communities Award, a $25,000 Enterprise Green Communities Trees Award, and $5,500 from Enterprise Community Partners.
“We had 11 different funding sources,” said Ketcham. “Normally for a development this size we see four sources. Tracking all those sources was really challenging during the construction process, as some were for green components only, others were for site work, etc.”