New housing under construction for domestic violence survivors

A new permanent housing option for a particularly vulnerable population is set to open in the Tri-Cities in the next few months.

A 10-unit apartment building for survivors of intimate partner violence who are experiencing homelessness is under construction in Benton County.

The apartment is a project of Domestic Violence Services of Benton & Franklin Counties, or DVS.

The agency recently received about $1 million in funding through the state Department of Commerce for the project.

Bricker Construction LLC is the developer.

“This housing gives our clients opportunities to live independently and thrive. It helps us give them a steppingstone to be successful and independent,” said Angie Pacheco, DVS executive director.

The apartment building will have studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.

Pacheco expects it to open in August or September, forming another link in the chain of services offered by her agency. The nonprofit also runs a shelter and offers some shorter-term transitional housing, in addition to providing a 24/7 crisis line, case management and other services.

DVS has a staff of 20 people and serves about 3,000 clients a year.

Housing is a particular challenge. When people leave situations of intimate partner violence, it’s not always easy for them to find a new living situation quickly – in fact, it’s far from easy, in many cases.

Some survivors may not have work, rental or credit histories, or they may have bad credit or past evictions – all of which would work against them in finding a new place to live, especially in a tight housing market.

DVS has had trouble finding landlords to rent to clients, Pacheco said.

The new housing “is something we’ve been needing,” she said. “We’re really excited.”

DVS prefers not to disclose the exact location of the apartment to protect the safety of residents.

The apartment project was on the waitlist for funding through the state’s Housing Trust Fund.

Then the commerce department announced last month that it was among the waitlisted projects that would be funded using about $40 million from the Rapid Capital Housing program.

“Commerce used extensive public input from stakeholders, other public funders and legislatively authorized flexibility to fund the waitlist and move projects toward the finish line,” said Corina Grigoras, assistant director for commerce’s housing division, in a statement. “We distributed funding to ensure that every region receives needed resources to tackle our state’s affordable housing crisis.”

Pacheco said she’s hopeful that her agency will be able to open more housing in the future.

DVS also is poised to celebrate the opening of its new boutique resale shop, Mariposa, in Kennewick. 

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