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Cantwell Tours New Gonzaga Affordable Housing Project, Calls To Expand Federal Funding

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell joined Spokane community leaders Thursday in touring a new housing development for families in the Logan neighborhood.

Gonzaga Family Haven is a 73-unit apartment project built by Catholic Charities. It’s wedged between Gonzaga Prep and the Spokane School District’s new Denny Yasuhara Middle School on North Foothills Drive.Jonathan Mallahan from Catholic Charities says the people who will live here come from his organization’s Rising Strong program for families recovering from drug addiction.

“Rising Strong graduates have shown resilience in overcoming adversity and worked hard to stabilize their lives. They’ve rebuilt relationships with one another, achieved higher levels of education and grown their incomes through employment," he said.

Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR
This is one of the apartment buildings that's part of the Gonzaga Family Haven complex, which will open in the fall in the Logan neighborhood.

Mallahan says Gonzaga Family Haven is like a small village. There will be housing, a medical clinic, computer lab, spiritual chapel, splash pad, bike trail, community garden and dog park. And it will have a suite of supportive services provided by Gonzaga University’s Center for Community Engagement. Students from Gonzaga University and Gonzaga Prep will be involved with that.

They’ll work with new tenants such Jeff and Jerrica Ford, who live at Rising Strong, but who will move into their own apartment in the fall.

“Once I came to Rising Strong it was like a light switch flipped my life, switched it around and now I’m doing the next right thing to get to the next right place," Jeff Ford said.

Now he and Jerrica are going to college, he to become a social worker, she to become a nurse.

“We have three kids. I think a splash pad and a trail for biking will be amazing for the kids," Jerrica Ford said.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) says the project is funded in part by a popular federal tax credit program for affordable housing.

“Just to give you an idea, 90% of affordable housing that is built in the United States is built with the Housing Tax Credit. So, if we don’t increase the Housing Tax Credit, it’s not very likely that we’re going to increase the supply in the United States," she said.

Cantwell says she’s working to increase funding for that tax credit by 50% as part of the infrastructure bill in the Senate.