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Spokane communities win funds to turn brownfields into affordable housing

A Spokane housing non-profit has won half a million dollars to turn contaminated land into affordable housing.

The Environmental Protection Agency grant was awarded to the Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium to find and clean up brownfield property in the West and East Central Neighborhoods. A brownfield is usually a property that’s been contaminated, such as a shuttered gas station, or a former manufacturing or industrial site.

The consortium’s Executive Director, Ben Stuckart, said the money will help its recently launched land bank create hundreds of new units of affordable housing.

“It'll really get us to the point where we can start applying for cleanup grants to clean up land and use it, or it'll clear the land, and say hey you can use that for housing now,” Stuckart said. “It's really a due diligence on land for the purpose of low-income housing.”

Stuckart said the non-profit will partner with neighborhood organizations who are already working on developing affordable housing projects.

According to the EPA, the Colville tribe and the Port of Whitman County have also received brownfield grants. The Colville’s roughly $770,000 grant will be used on the reservation. The Port of Whitman County’s $500,000 grant will be used primarily in Rosalia and Colfax.