Hostmark receives second large grant

POULSBO — An award of more than $173,000 in grant money is the icing on the cake for recent work to revamp and remodel the Hostmark Apartments.

Last month, the 120-unit apartment complex, which caters primarily to low-income seniors, received news that it was the recipient of a $173,184 grant from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“It was the only one in Washington State funded, so we were very excited,” said Hostmark Apartments Portfolio Manager Jennifer Wood.

The grant will pay for the establishment of a Social Service Coordinator position and salary and benefits for the position for three years. Wood explained that the person hired will help link Hostmark residents with social service organizations that work with seniors and help them live independently as long as possible.

“It’s not for physical work,” Wood explained. “It’s to assist with the human needs at Hostmark.”

The receipt of the HUD money comes close on the heels of the completion of overhaul project that began in July and is now nearly complete.

Work included replacing and restoring roofs and drainage systems, performing structural improvements, installing energy-efficient systems in units, creating more accessible sidewalks and parking spaces and adding hardwired smoke detectors.

It also included the construction of a new 2,922-square-foot community center for residents. With a maximum capacity of 125 people, the January opening of the facility will mean Hostmark residents will have community space far and above anything they had available before.

Amy Godsey, who’s been manager of the apartment complex for about two weeks, said the residents are very excited about the addition.

“They ask me practically every day when it’ll be open,” she commented.

The new community room will primarily become the location of many new services as they are founded.

Wood said management saw the need for a Social Service Coordinator to assist their residents in everything from finding chore services to applying for public assistance. More than half of the facility’s residents earn less than 60 percent of the area’s median income and are primarily senior citizens. Wood said in the six months prior to the HUD application, nine of the facility’s residents left because they needed additional help but had no resources available to them.

“And a lot more have left in the last six months as well,” she commented.

The work by the new employee may include helping residents understand Medicare benefits, bringing speakers on various senior-related topics to the community and inviting non-profits that work with seniors to partner with staff. Wood said she also hopes the coordinator will help start a meal program and possibly a neighborhood network, where residents could use and be trained in the use of computers.

The Social Service Coordinator will also be in charge of helping Hostmark’s 14 non-senior, disabled residents.

“It’s really just a position to provide the resources that our residents need to live on their own,” Wood said.

In January, Hostmark was purchased by California non-profit Community Housing Assistance Program, Inc. (CHAPA) through a $835,000 grant from Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle. That purchase created Hostmark Village Concern LLC, a tax credit partnership between CHAPA and related capital corporations and private investors.

The new owners initiated the remodeling work and also the grant application to HUD. Wood said there are no other grants in the works, however, she doesn’t discount more good news down the road.

“We want to continually upgrade the property and we’ll be looking for other opportunities,” she said.

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