ENTIAT — A 65-unit affordable housing complex in Entiat that will primarily serve farmworkers is slated to be completed by October 2022.
The $20 million development was announced Monday by non-profit Enterprise Community Partners, the Housing Authority of Chelan County, the city of Wenatchee and the Office of Rural and Farmworker Housing (ORFH).
The Mountain View Family Housing community, 14425 Olin St., on the site of a former orchard, will consist of 12 buildings, including two-story townhomes, single-story apartments and a single-story common building. Of the 65 units, 52 will be set aside for local farmworkers.
The community will be a mix of one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments. Families and individuals must earn between 30-50% of the area median income, depending on the unit. Rents will range from $376 for a one-bedroom apartment to $991 for a four-bedroom.
“Housing opportunities are in short supply throughout Chelan County,” said Marty Miller, director of the Office of Rural and Farmworker Housing. “The Mountain View development is a big step in the right direction to create quality, affordable housing for families living and working in Chelan County.”
The project is being subsidized by the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, a federal program that issues tax credits to state governments which can then award the credits to private developers of affordable rental housing projects.
Scott Hoekman of Enterprise Community Partners said their investors will put in about $14 million and will receive $16 million in tax credits over the next 10 years. He said Banner Bank is also putting in $1.2 million, the state Housing Trust Fund is putting in $4.5 million and the Housing Authority will put in $200,000.
Hoekman added the flexibility of the credit allowed them to target the needs of farmworkers and their families — a crucial need, according to those involved in the development.
“Often there is a real urgent need for affordable homes that are specifically targeted to agricultural workers and their families,” Hoekman said.
Alicia McRae, Housing Authority executive director, cited a 2019 housing market survey conducted by real estate firm Kidder Mathews, which determined agricultural housing a big need in the area.
“Based on these projections, the development of 52 units of agricultural housing will still leave a significant unmet need for this type of housing in the primary market area,” McRae said.
But demand for agricultural housing is only a part of the growing need for affordable housing. In fact, the development’s 65 total units may only be a drop in the bucket.
McRae said there are currently 772 families on existing Housing Authority property waiting lists and that the current low vacancy rates indicate a continued high rental demand.
That demand is already evident by the interest in Mountain View Family Housing. McRae said there are 43 families who have already asked to be placed on a waiting list for the new development. Although the Housing Authority, which will manage the property, won’t start formally marketing the units until spring 2022, it is maintaining an informal waiting list. Interested parties can call 509-663-7421 to be placed on the list.