BELLINGHAM - Catholic Housing Services will not include housing for the chronically homeless in the second phase of its development at 1100 Cornwall Ave., a representative said during the Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting.
Steve Powers, division director for Catholic Housing Services, made that pledge Thursday, Jan. 31, during a presentation at The Leopold on the design of the first and second phases.
The first phase serves the chronically homeless. Some owners have worried about the harm that could be done to downtown businesses, and Powers was assuaging fears that the second phase could include that type of housing as well.
"It wouldn't serve our needs to put additional chronically homeless housing right in that same location. And, as well, we're certainly trying to respond when we can to community concerns," Powers said in a follow-up interview.
Catholic Housing Services hopes to begin building the first phase as soon as June and have it open summer of 2014.
That four-story building would include 42 units, parking and offices for its property at Cornwall Avenue and Maple Street.
Twenty of those units would be reserved for the chronically homeless, a challenging population to help. Some of them are expected to be addicted to drugs, and a majority likely would have a mental illness. They would receive support services.
"Let me clear one misconception that seems to be out there," Powers told the audience. "There will not be any shelter housing or drop-in programs at this facility. It is permanent housing with supportive services."
Catholic Housing Services has applied for city review of the project's design - the first part of the permitting process, which will include a public hearing.
Construction on the $9 million first phase this year will depend on whether it receives $7.5 million in tax credits from the Washington State Housing Finance Commission to help with funding, according to Powers. That decision is expected next week.
As for the second phase, it's four to five years down the road and is conceptual at this point. The plan is to build affordable housing for senior citizens and workers, ground-floor office spaces, and 100 parking spaces on two levels.
The number of units could range from 72 to 104; the higher number is what could be built if the new building included only housing.
Find additional information about Catholic Housing Services' plans to build homeless and low-income housing at 1100 Cornwall Ave. at affordablebellingham.com/aboutCornwall.
Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.