Low-income Pullman complex ready to start construction

Jeff Guyett, from the Community Action Center, attached this photo of construction equipment for the RiverView Apartments at 1155 SE Bypass Drive, Pullman. He is working on getting a digital rendering, but it seems unlikely.

Construction work on a new apartment complex for low-income and homeless residents in Pullman is set to begin this month.

Jeff Guyett, executive director of the Community Action Center, said crews this week should have the permits to begin work on the 56-unit RiverView Apartments project on 1155 SE Bypass Drive, south of Pullman Regional Hospital. He said the complex is expected to be finished in September 2020.

CAC, a local nonprofit, will manage the $11 million property, which is being funded by a number of sources including Washington State Housing Trust Funds and low-income housing tax credit investor group, R4 Capital.

The units will be rented to people who are homeless or to households making less than 50 percent of Whitman County’s median income of about $70,000. Priority households will include homeless families with children, people with disabilities, veterans and large families.

Those who live at RiverView will have to pay a rent amount that varies depending on how much income they make. Some may not have to pay any rent, Guyett said.

Guyett said the RiverView Apartments will help its residents find stability and help them work themselves out of poverty. He said they will have the option of talking to case managers at CAC to help them set goals for their future.

Guyett said people that come into contact with CAC have fallen into poverty for a variety of reasons. He said one of CAC’s clients had a stable job until a medical emergency left her homeless in Pullman. Now, after living in emergency housing, she was able to find a job, he said.

Guyett said the new housing project is a helpful but small solution to the overall low-income housing need on the Palouse.

He said it will provide less than 5 percent of the homes needed for local low-income residents that are cost burdened, meaning they pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs.

“It’s just a piece of the solution,” he said. “We can’t obviously solve everything ourselves by building more units.”

A recently released Regional Housing Needs Report compiled by Partnership for Economic Prosperity and Thomas P. Miller & Associates found there is a shortage of affordable single-family housing on the Palouse, and it is one of the most significant unmet housing needs in the region.

There are several tax credit properties and other low-income housing in Pullman, but there is an opportunity to create more diverse housing options to help those in need, Guyett said.

Anthony Kuipers can be reached at (208) 883-4640, or by email to akuipers@dnews.com.

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