Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308
Friday, September 21, 2018 at 11:35 a.m.
We all know the City of Spokane provides our water, picks up trash and plows streets, but there’s also a little known department committed to creating new housing opportunities.
“So I think one of the roles that CHHS plays, is not necessarily to buy or develop housing, but we make a contribution to a neighborhood,” said Paul Trautman, program manager of the Community, Housing & Human Services Department.
For example, in the Chief Garry Park neighborhood, five new homes are taking shape on what used to be a piece of vacant, city-owned property.
“So the city was able to help Community Frameworks purchase this land at an affordable price. So here we’ll have 5 low-income homeowners who will be able to buy brand new homes, energy efficient and at affordable rates,” Trautman explained.
CHHS is also using federal funds to spruce up the neighborhood around the new homes.
“You’re going to have a brand new sidewalk where I stand here, some street improvements, as well, that are associated with this project. None of this would be possible if we didn’t have this partnership with Community Frameworks and their ability to build these five new homes,” Trautman said.
The City of Spokane also helped another non-profit called Transitions stand up the Home Yard Cottages. The project in Northwest Spokane created 24 new permanent residences for previously homeless women and children.
“You know, I never in my life could imagine that I would be given this opportunity just two years into my sobriety. It’s going to be life changing,” new resident Tuesday Durham said thankfully.
More than half the cottages are solar-powered to keep utilities bill low. Saving money is the name of the game as CHHS tries to prompt new housing projects.
“So what we want to do is be the catalyst, be that little seed that we’re able to plant and that makes the project affordable,” Trautman added.
CHHS provided the financial spark that will bring new life to an abandoned, fire-damaged home on South Perry Street.
“We had a lot of squatters, drug addicts,” neighbor Keith Dotson said of the property before it was finally fenced off.
The City found a non-profit ready to build a new residence on the site and CHHS is making the project affordable by picking up the cost of demolition.
“We’ve got some asbestos contamination. We’ve got a house that really needs to go away. We’ve got some other trash that’s on the property. It’s not benefiting the neighborhood, that’s our role. We’ll make that all go away, create a new ready-to-build site for this non-profit and this construction training program,” Trautman said proudly.
CHHS’s involvement in abating the nuisance home comes as great news to this working-wage neighborhood where parents are trying to raise their children in a safe environment.
“I’m very appreciative to the City that they’re going to do something about this lot and I know our neighbors are going to be happy about it too,” Dotson said.