Mount Si Senior Center has taken another step forward in its pursuit of the affordable housing for seniors in the Valley.
The senior center has secured $2 million from King County for the purchase of Cascade Park Apartments, a 28-unit building of federally subsidized low-income and senior housing. The purchase is intended to preserve affordable housing for seniors in the Valley. The center already owns the 39-unit Sno Ridge Apartments, another senior-focused building adjacent to Cascade Park.
The King County Council approved the money as part of a larger, countywide push to fund affordable, workforce housing. At its Nov. 13 meeting, the county council approved $100 million for projects throughout the county. The $2 million is a significant portion of the $4.475 million price tag.
Cascade Park Apartments, located at 440 Main Ave. South in North Bend, has been on the market for about a year, and it was exclusively being offered to local nonprofits until June 30. Mount Si Senior Center signed a purchase and sale agreement in June. Mount Si Senior Center executive director Susan Kingsbury-Comeau said the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations stipulate a qualified nonprofit has two years to put together the financing for the project once an agreement is signed.
When property is sold, especially in the case of affordable housing, a needs assessment is required to bring the building up to current standards, Kingsbury-Comeau said. In this case the cost of fixes and rehabilitation of the building are projected to be another $2 million on top of the $4.475 million purchase price, bringing the total project cost to about $6.5 million.
The senior center also plans to apply for funding through programs like the King County Community Development Block Grants and low interest loans for housing assistance through the USDA.
Kingsbury-Comeau cited work by King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert as a big reason why the center received the funding. She also thanked North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing and Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson for their efforts in advocating for the need to secure and preserve senior housing in the Valley.
“This is absolutely a joint effort,” she said. “The show of community support has kept the pressure on everyone to preserve this housing and it’s still not enough housing, but the first step is to preserve what we have.”
Kingsbury-Comeau also clarified that the affordable housing project does not have any effect on the operations or finances of the senior center itself. The project is in its own financial silo, she said.
With the cost of living rising, it is harder for people on low or fixed incomes to keep living in their communities. Kingsbury-Comeau said that even by preserving these 28 units for affordable housing, much more is needed.