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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Thursday, April 2, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

New Apartments To Aid Those Who Need It Most

The newest homes in downtown Spokane aren’t for everyone.

The 51 apartments in the newly refurbished Commercial Building aren’t for the drug dealers or prostitutes so familiar in the 1100 block of West First Avenue.

They’re not for people who can afford to live somewhere else.

And they’re not for those who break the rules against drinking, doing drugs or having sleep-over guests.

“There’s going to be a lot of guidelines and rules and restrictions,” said manager Ann Finke, who also plans to enforce a midnight curfew.

“They can’t run amok at 3 o’clock in the morning.”

The apartments, which will open next month, are for adults who need help staying sober, finding a job or getting an education. They’ll get some of the help they need without even leaving the building from social service agencies that will be offered office space there.

The $2 million project was the salvation of the 1906 building, which is sandwiched between the Dead End Tavern and the Otis Hotel, a home of last resort.

The building sat vacant and abused for 25 years before it was purchased last year by the Otis Associated Limited Partnership. It is on local, state and national historic registers.

Neighbors and community leaders at an open house Monday said they hope the project will breathe life into the neighborhood.

“The more we clean things up, the harder we make it for the dirty element,” said John MacBrayne, a member of the city’s Downtown Steering Committee.

Mayor Jack Geraghty said the project would help make Spokane “a Skid Roadless community.”

Residents will live in rooms with refrigerators, televisions, beds and tables. They’ll cook in common kitchens and share bathrooms.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will subsidize the rent, which will cost tenants anywhere from nothing to $328 a month, depending on their income.

Funding for the project came from several sources, including the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle, U.S. Bank of Washington, the city of Spokane and the Spokane Housing Authority.

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