SEATTLE—YWCA Passage Point opened its doors this year with the goal of giving single parents who have been recently released from jail a place to reunite with their children.
The YWCA of Seattle/King County/ Snohomish County saw an opportunity to address the needs of this overlooked group by transforming the closed Cedar Hills Alcohol Treatment Center in rural Maple Valley, about 30 minutes east of Seattle, into a new 46-unit supportive-housing development.
Individuals leaving the correctional system often experience barriers to housing and employment. As a result, they face homelessness and being separated from their children.
“We were interested in a program that would allow for reunification as one of its components,” says Linda Rasmussen, homeless initiatives director for the YWCA.
Passage Point is focused on serving one-parent households with one or two children. In a few cases, the parent may have three children. Seven of the apartments have two bedrooms while the rest are one-bedroom units.
Although the development is for those coming out of incarceration, there are still limitations on who can live there. Residents must not have been convicted of a violent crime or a sexual offense.
Passage Point residents will have access to a wide range of services, including case management, parenting classes, and help with job preparation.
The King County Housing Authority provided Sec. 8 vouchers for all the units, so residents pay just 30 percent of their incomes for rent.
The $12.2 million development was financed with a combination of sources, including $4.8 million in Tax Credit Exchange Program funds from the Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC). Other financing partners include King County, the state Department of Commerce, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle with member HomeStreet Bank. Common Ground served as the project manager.
Family Village at Issaquah
It has been a busy year for the organization, which also recently celebrated the opening of its 146-unit YWCA Family Village at Issaquah development that will be home to approximately 400 people. Overall, the YWCA owns more than 800 housing units.
“We have a campus that brings together multiple designs and building types to serve different needs,” says Linda Hall, YWCA's senior director of housing development and housing operations.
One of the unique features of the Family Village at Issaquah is the inclusion of a Bright Horizons Family Solutions child care center on site for about 150 children.
The housing development, which is built on two and a half acres and part of a master-planned community, cost about $43 million. The figure is closer to $50 million if the cost of the land and waived permitting fees are included.
Financing includes 4 percent lowincome housing tax credits and Tax Credit Assistance Program funds from WSHFC and tax-exempt bonds from the state Department of Commerce. Boston Capital was the tax credit syndicator, and Wachovia/Wells Fargo purchased the bonds. U.S. Bank is the bond trustee, and Key Bank provided a line of credit.
Additional financing was provided by the city of Issaquah, King County, A Regional Coalition of Housing, the state Housing Trust Fund, U.S. Department of Energy and an Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant through King County, private foundations, the YWCA Women Empowered campaign, and the Master Builders Association.
King County Housing Authority provided 26 projectbased Sec. 8 vouchers. The majority of residents will earn no more than 50 percent of King County's median income. For example, a family of four would earn less than $40,700 a year.
The YWCA reports that 50 apartments will serve very low-income residents, and 10 apartments will be for women and families leaving homelessness.