CHS has learned that a social services organization is beginning to raise funds to construct a housing facility for armed service veterans on East Spring between 13th and 14th Avenues.
Catholic Community Services, formerly known as the Archdiocesan Housing Authority, is planning the 18 units of “transitional” housing for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for a 7,200 square foot lot on East Spring. CCS purchased the lot in 2002 from Seattle University for just over $320,000, according to King County records. A daycare has been operating at the location.
In the wake of November’s hatchet murder on the corner of 15th and Union, social services that drew both the attacker and the victim to the neighborhood are a point of concern as illustrated by this CHS comment where we first learned of the CCS effort:
A way for the Crime Prevention Coalition to serve the neighborhood could be this: Catholic Community Services plans to establish a residential facility for men who are being treated for psychiatric problems at 13th and
Marion[Spring], just two blocks from this tragedy, and virtually across the street from one of the SAAS buildings. Under the circumstances, this may result in some feelings of concern. I think the Crime Prevention Coalition might have a role in bringing together neighbors, including SAAS students and parents and administrators to talk, in a calm and rational way, about concerns that many have when housing projects like this move into a neighborhood.
“I respect the neighbors’ concern. That was a really horrific incident,” said Dan Wise, program director for CCS. “The Vet Administration is really trying to put a lot of services in place for these people,” she said.
Wise tells CHS that Spring Street Veterans Housing will have services on-site for the veterans living in the new facility when construction is completed including a manager living in the housing and social staff employed to provide the veterans with everything from counseling to job training. Wise also said the services will only be for those living in the units.
Wise said there is not yet a plan for community outreach related to the project but that she expects notifications to go out closer to the start of construction. Wise said there was notification of the initial plan to neighbors years ago but the long process of funding and getting the project in motion might catch some in the neighborhood by surprise. Wise said she invites community questions and comments via e-mail at DanW@ccsww.org.
The land use process should also provide some opportunity for feedback. The facility is being developed with a grant from the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs but CCS must raise $400,000 in matching funds for construction. Wise said that fund raising is just getting started and that rehabbing the daycare building will take at least nine months after the money is raised. The project plans submitted to the City of Seattle call for an overhaul of the old daycare building and a partial demolition of the structure to make way for on-site parking.
Veterans Affairs backs other similar housing in the state. Here are its facility goals and admissions requirements for a similar facility:
• Increased residential stability of participants
• Greater self-determination of participants
• Increased skill level and income potential of
Eligibility for Admission
• Served in any branch of the US Armed Forces
• Received an Honorable or General Under Honorable Discharge
• Homeless for one or more nights
• Clean and sober for at least the last 30 days
• Desire to lead a clean and sober lifestyle
• Desire to make meaningful life changes leading to independent living
• Willing to undergo criminal background check
Wise tells CHS the project is being planned for younger veterans. Many will have served tour of duties in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many will need the community’s support and the state’s services. It’s a needed facility. And it’s in our neighborhood.
“I believe the people living there are going to be good members of the community,” Wise said.