The City has offered up an empty medical office building for use as temporary shelter for homeless adults at high risk of COVID-19. The City purchased the building in 2018 with the Home Fund so the property could be redeveloped for affordable housing. It was vacant while construction was planned by Low Income Housing Institute and Interfaith Works.
To comply with the social distancing requirements for shelters mandated by local and federal officials, Olympia homeless shelters have had to reduce their capacity in existing shelters by about 50 percent. The unused 2828 Martin Way building will accommodate 30 of our oldest or most medically frail homeless neighbors.
The County will contract with Interfaith Works to manage a 24-hour shelter at the site designed to protect those most at risk of COVID-19 and help them avoid exposure. The building had been slated for demolition to build more affordable housing. That construction is still on schedule to begin in 2021. No other temporary or interim plans for the property are currently being considered.
Updates on the 2828 Martin Way Property
In July 2018, City Council approved the purchase of 2828 Martin Way with Home Fund revenue. Multiple options were considered, including use of the property for a sanctioned camping site or a tiny home village.
Based on feedback from the public, the City decided shelter and supportive apartments were the best use of the property. Those plans were discussed at two neighborhood meetings at VFW Post 318 next door to the property.
The City signed a purchase and sale agreement with the Low Income Housing Institute on August 20, 2019.
Why is the property going to be used for shelter and supportive housing?
Interfaith Works currently operates a 42-bed shelter in the basement of First Christian Church downtown. That shelter is in a converted church basement. It lacks showers and lacks other basic facilities we expect for our most vulnerable homeless neighbors. This project would provide 60 shelter beds.
Supportive housing for single adults is key need identified in our County’s Homeless Housing Plan. This project would provide 65 apartments providing supportive housing (a combination of housing and services that include case management and other care) on this property.
Who owns the property?
The City of Olympia currently owns the property. The City plans on selling the property to the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), who hopes to develop the property and operate it in partnership with Interfaith Works.
That agreement will be contingent on funding from the state Housing Trust Fund and other public funders (that contingency is common for affordable housing developments like this).
What is a purchase and sale agreement?
The sales and use agreement will provide the terms of the sale of the property to LIHI so they can compete for construction funding. The sale will not close unless funding and other terms of the agreement are met. Council’s early authorization of the agreement makes this project more competitive for state and federal funding applications that are due this fall.
What is happening at the site right now?
The City of Olympia in partnership with Interfaith Works have stood up an emergency shelter in response to the COVID 19 pandemic. Small renovations have been made to the building to make the transition as quick as possible. The individuals chosen to be placed in this shelter were prioritized based on age, chronic illness and risk factors associated with COVID 19.
What are the details for development?
The City had the first preliminary meeting with the development team on June 12, 2019 (view details). The development team will come back for a recommendation for approval of a site plan in the future. That meeting has not been scheduled yet.
The city, LIHI and Interfaith hosted a community meeting about this project on July 22. The presentation included information on the City’s overall homeless response, other LIHI programs, and Interfaith Works programs and plans for the property (view presentation).
Contact Cary Retlin, Home Fund Manager, at 360.570.3956 or firstname.lastname@example.org