PeaceHealth and nonprofit developer Mercy Housing Northwest announced a plan Friday to build 72 units of affordable family housing near the hospital.
PeaceHealth will donate land for the project at Northeast Fifth Street and 93rd Avenue, about two blocks east of PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. The Vancouver-based not-for-profit Catholic health system will also work with Mercy to determine on-site resident services and programming, according to a news release. Mercy will own and manage the housing development.
The project was announced at a time when rents are escalating in Vancouver and surrounding communities amid a shrinking supply of housing.
“We recognize that our role of caring for our community goes well beyond the walls of our clinics and hospitals,” Sean Gregory, chief executive of PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, said in the news release. “By collaborating with Mercy, it enables us to directly address housing needs. And, we know that in Vancouver one in three low- or moderate-income households are experiencing a severe cost burden, spending more than half their income on housing.”
Since its founding 27 years ago, Seattle-based Mercy Housing Northwest has developed more than 2,000 affordable rental homes across 16 counties in Washington. The Founding Communities for Mercy Housing Northwest include the Sisters of Providence, Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, Sisters of the Holy Names and the Adrian and Tacoma Dominicans.
“Mercy Housing Northwest is delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with PeaceHealth,” Mercy Housing Northwest President Bill Rumpf said in the release. “We look forward to creating 72 new rental homes, with resident services designed to support health and wellness, children’s success in school and financial stability. We also acknowledge the Vancouver community for approving a housing levy to make it possible to create well-designed, affordable housing.”
The project location was chosen based on proximity to health care services, jobs, schools, bus service, and major thoroughfares. Resident services and programs will be offered on site.
Over the next few months, PeaceHealth and Mercy will collect information from the community that will lead to designs and decisions on resident services. Ground-breaking is projected sometime next year with a 2021 opening.
The project is expected to use $500,000 from the city’s Affordable Housing Fund, according to the city’s website. It also is expected to tap into affordable housing dollars and Vancouver-backed HOME funds. HOME is the largest federal block grant to state and local governments designed to create affordable housing for low-income households.
PeaceHealth and Mercy are expected to use the affordable homes incentive money to help with planning and construction costs, said Peggy Sheehan, Vancouver’s community development program manager, who leads the team that manages the Affordable Housing Fund.