Packed In: Spokane receives $680k grant for water, sewer systems for Liberty Park project

Liberty Park Terrace project
Credit: ZBE Architecture

SPOKANE, Wash. — The City of Spokane received a $680,460 grant to connect water and sewage systems to affordable housing units for the Liberty Park Terrace project.

The Liberty Park Terrace project will create 54 new affordable housing units in the Perry District in the East Central neighborhood. It’s being spearheaded by Proclaim Liberty.

The Washington State Department of Commerce awarded the funds for Phase Two of the project, specifically for installing water and sewage systems to the units.

This comes after the city accepted the Community Development Block grant, which provided $402,345 to purchase the Liberty Park property back in 2018.

“This award is critical to support much-needed development of affordable housing in Spokane as well as spark a project that will reduce or prevent homelessness,” said George Dahl, the Housing Manager at Spokane’s Community, Housing, and Human Services.

The upcoming phase will bring in three new residential buildings to Liberty Park, with the project’s completion expected by late 2023.

Proclaim Liberty board member Mark Killian said that while the units might not make a huge dent in the city’s need for affordable housing, the impact it’ll have on the 54 families who move in will be profound.

“It’s going to be life-changing,” Killian said.

Some units will require people to make a certain amount of money to qualify. The amount will be based on the city’s average income.

The Washington State Department of Commerce recently announced that $18.6 million will go towards developing 1,500 affordable housing units in seven different counties. The funds will lower development costs by about $12,000 per unit.

“The communities receiving grant funds have already made affordable housing a priority with local tax levies,” said Lisa Brown, State Commerce Director. “This program supports and helps accelerate that work at a time when affordable housing projects throughout the state are facing significant cost increases.”

The goal is to help build housing units more quickly, by covering upfront costs of infrastructure and connecting housing to municipal systems.

There is still a funding gap of about five to six million dollars Killian said they’re working on closing. Once they get that money, they’ll be ready to go.

The city’s community, housing and human services department hopes to get some money from the American Rescue Plan.

“If we get the funding by the end of this year then hosting families 2023-2024,” Killian said.

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