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October 28, 2016

VanWa Housing Authority 'OKs' 2017 Budget

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Vancouver Housing Authority’s $55 million 2017 budget was approved Thursday during its board of directors meeting.

The $55,274,241 budgeted for next year is about $3.8 million more than the $51,424,567 projected for this year. A large chunk of that increase is from the housing authority allotting more money for Housing Choice Vouchers, otherwise known as Section 8, said Mila Fabyanchuk, the housing authority’s financial analyst. These vouchers buy down the cost of rentals in the private market for qualifying low-income households. As market-rate rents rise, VHA gets more money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to absorb that increase for voucher holders.

The housing authority adjusted its payment standards three times this year in an attempt to keep up with rent increases.

The housing authority adjusted its payment standards three times this year in an attempt to keep up with rent increases. About $19.2 million in operating grants from the Department of Housing is budgeted for 2017. That’s compared to $15.8 million budgeted for 2016, which ended up being $17.3 million after payment standards were adjusted. The 2017 budget also has about $4 million for maintenance and improvement work at housing authority properties that includes $1.5 million in painting and siding projects. VHA filed a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer of the siding at Springbrook Village Apartments, which will be the costliest to replace; $694,400 was budgeted for that project.

At Thursday’s meeting, the board of directors also voted to contribute $60,000 to improving three homeless shelters owned by the housing authority: Orchards Inn and Valley Homestead in Hazel Dell, which are both operated by nonprofit homeless service provider Share, and YWCA’s SafeChoice Domestic Violence shelter.

At Thursday’s meeting, the board of directors also voted to contribute $60,000 to improving three homeless shelters owned by the housing authority: Orchards Inn and Valley Homestead in Hazel Dell, which are both operated by nonprofit homeless service provider Share, and YWCA’s SafeChoice Domestic Violence shelter. Improvements at Orchards Inn include replacing the roof, water heater and door locks, as well as remodeling the bathrooms. Valley Homestead needs an air conditioner in the dining hall, a heating upgrade, roof replacement and bathroom remodeling. SafeChoice improvements would include replacing the water heater, windows and smoke detectors, installing a heating and cooling system and repairing the roof. Improvements are estimated to cost $543,200, with the city and county covering most of the cost through Community Development Block Grants.

More housing to come

Next year the housing authority will continue to have a hand in developing more subsidized housing. VHA’s stance is that regardless of who owns and develops subsidized housing, it needs to be built to ease the burden on struggling renters in Clark County. In January, the agency plans to submit an application for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program to help fund Caples Terrace, a 25-unit complex for unaccompanied youth and youth aging out of foster care. Also in the works is a development at 16th and D streets in Vancouver. The south side of the property is intended for apartments, while the north side would be town homes.

The housing authority is looking for a developer interested in building on a parcel of land in the 5700 block of Northeast 34th Street in central Vancouver, just south of state Highway 500.

The housing authority is looking for a developer interested in building on a parcel of land in the 5700 block of Northeast 34th Street in central Vancouver, just south of state Highway 500. The 20 three-bedroom units would primarily be leased to low-income families who are receiving Section 8 after being referred to the program by Vancouver Public Schools. Second Step Housing, in partnership with the housing authority, is building a 30-unit apartment complex at Northeast 78th Avenue and Fourth Plain Boulevard, near Vancouver Plaza. There’s some land next to this project that the housing authority would like to see developed into an apartment complex that would be leased to low-income households. For more and future updates follow the story at the Columbian

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