Catholic Charities of
Eastern Washington is putting the finishing touches on a $13.2 million, 52-unit
housing project to serve chronically homeless people in the Tri-Cities.
religious charity has a deal pending with the city of Pasco for 2.25 acres of
vacant land on Heritage Boulevard on Pasco’s east side. It is also finalizing
requests for funding through the Washington State Housing Finance
Commission, said Jonathan Mallahan, Catholic Charities’ vice president for
“The project is really
coming along. There’s a high likelihood we’re going to get this off the ground
if we get those allocations,” he said.
If all goes well, it
will break ground in 2020 and open the project, named Father Bach, about a year
later. It will be the charity’s first Tri-City project to serve the homeless,
but not its first local undertaking. The organization operates farmworker
housing in Franklin County.
The Father Bach effort
fulfills its mission to serve the needy. Housing is a basic human right,
Catholic Charities has
applied for a special use permit to build a residential project in what is a
mixed industrial and residential neighborhood.
The proposed four-story,
L-shaped residential building will include office space for social workers,
clinics and other services to support staff. The Father Bach project mirrors
similar housing efforts in Spokane and Walla Walla.
Mallahan called Heritage
Boulevard a great spot for people who need access to services beyond what will
be available at Father Bach. It’s close to public transportation and
The building itself is
designed to be self-contained to minimize the impact on the neighborhood.
It will be fenced with a
community garden and on-site recreational facilities.
The studio and
one-bedroom units will be reserved for people who have experienced chronic
homelessness. Catholic Charities will work with local service agencies to
identify potential residents.
Its Spokane residents
were homeless for an average of 10 years before moving into housing there.
Mallahan couldn’t say if
that will be the same in Pasco, but Catholic Charities is convinced there is a
real need for supportive housing in the Tri-Cities.
“We could build three of
these facilities and have no problem filling them,” he said.
A study commissioned by
Catholic Charities earlier this year said there are at least 40 chronically
homeless people living in the Tri-Cities and that at least 700 people
experience homelessness in the Mid-Columbia each year.
The study was performed
by the Seattle office of Kidder Mathews, a commercial real estate firm.
The project design
includes oversized corridors and abundant natural light, nods to the trauma
residents have faced.
“It’s a hard transition
to move inside. We don’t want people to feel confined,” Mallahan said.
Financing is the primary
reason it’s building one rather than three.
applied for $2 million in housing trust dollars from the Washington State
Housing Finance Commission and expects to learn if it qualifies around Jan. 1.
In January, it will
apply for $11.2 million in federal low-income housing tax credits over 10
years. The tax credit program is also administered by the housing finance
It hasn’t yet selected a
tax credit buyer.
Robert Vralsted of
Architecture All Forms in Spokane is the architect. Inland Group of Spokane is
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