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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

State approves funding for new Father Bach Haven structures in downtown Spokane

FILE – Father Bach Haven, an apartment complex for the homeless, photographed in 2013, is named after Father Frank Bach, a longtime advocate for the poor in the Spokane Diocese. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Nearly 1,000 affordable units were awarded state funding this week, with almost a quarter of them in the Spokane area.

The Washington State Housing Finance Commission approved financing for Father Bach Haven Four and Five, which will provide 100 units for the chronically homeless in downtown Spokane. The first will be built at 164 S. State St., between Division and Browne streets near the House of Charity and the original Father Bach Haven building. The second will be built at Division and First Avenue.

The projects are the seventh and eighth such developments helping homeless people by Catholic Charities, which will receive $9.8 million in tax-credit equity for each of the new buildings.

The Winter Heights project in Spokane Valley will bring 120 units to 2702 N. Pines Road. Units for large families will make up about 20 percent of the apartments in the “garden-style buildings.” The project will be funded by $6.6 million in tax-credit equity and $13 million in a tax-exempt note.

The prime mechanism for funding affordable housing, which these projects use, was expanded this year when lawmakers rewrote the nation’s tax code. The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program allows developers to raise funding for affordable housing projects by selling the credit to investors. In return, corporations and wealthy individuals receive a dollar-for-dollar reduction in federal income tax payments, while gaining equity in the project.

Seven of this year’s 11 new projects are financed through the tax credit.

The state commission decides which projects are funded through the tax credit and by issuing tax-exempt bonds or notes. In total, the commission approved $207 million in financing for new construction this year.

Other projects approved this year are in Seattle, Pullman, Tacoma, Vancouver, SeaTac, Snoqualmie and Redmond and are largely focused on assisting homeless families and individuals. Others are focused on people with disabilities, seniors, veterans and people with mental health issues.