Cantwell on Spokane’s Affordable Housing: Gonzaga Family Haven is “A Great Model” for Nation

During roundtable with affordable housing advocates, leaders announce $576,000 federal grant to support Haven residents

SPOKANE, WA – On Monday, November 21, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined leaders from Gonzaga University, Catholic Charities Eastern Washington (CCEW) and other community leaders for a roundtable discussion highlighting the impact of supportive, low-income housing facilities in eastern Washington.

During the roundtable, CCEW announced that its supportive housing facility, Gonzaga Family Haven, has received a $576,000 federal grant to go toward wraparound services that directly assist the Haven’s 72 current resident families, including scholarships, health care and employment programs.

“You really were not just providing housing, but you were providing a pathway for people to get on the right track in their lives and actually be employed in things that would give them an income to sustain them for the future,” Sen. Cantwell said. “This a great model.”

Sen. Cantwell also spoke about federal funding programs like the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), which finances more than 90 percent of affordable housing built in the United States. Sen. Cantwell also pointed to her legislation that if passed would increase the federal resources allocated to the LIHTC by 50 percent and help build more than 66,000 units of affordable housing across Washington state.

Sen. Cantwell said she’ll continue to advocate for expanding and strengthening the LIHTC program in the current Congress.

“We need more affordable houses. We have a housing crisisWe know that the answer is the tax credit. But one thing that we still aren't getting through in people's minds is that 95 percent of the units that get built, get built with the tax credit,” Sen. Cantwell said. “If you aren’t increasing that tax credit, you are not basically increasing supply… And so I just want you to know that we are fighting to get this bill [done] before the end of the year.”

Gonzaga Family Haven is an affordable housing complex of CCEW that provides residents with stability and wraparound services through community partnerships with Gonzaga University, Gonzaga Preparatory School, St. Aloysius Parish, and Head Start.

Other roundtable attendees included: 

1.      Lisa Vatske, Director of Multifamily Housing and Community Facilities, Washington State Housing and Finance Commission

2.      Breann Beggs, Council President, Spokane City Council

3.      Rob McCann, CEO, Catholic Charities Eastern Washington

4.      Darin Davidson, CEO, Inland Group

5.      Michael Dougherty, President, Gonzaga Preparatory School

6.      Bobbi Woodrall, Spokane Director, Head Start and Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program

7.      Molly Ayers, Assistant Dean for Center for Community Engagement, Gonzaga University

8.      Jonathan Mallahan, Chief Housing Officer, Catholic Charities Eastern Washington

9.      Jerica Ford, Property Manager, Gonzaga Family Haven

10.  Peg Haun-McEwen, Community Director, Gonzaga Family Haven

11.  John Sklut, Senior Adviser to the President, Gonzaga University

12.  Bailley Wootten, Director of Strategic Partnership, Gonzaga University Center for CommunityEngagement

13.  Ephraim Watkins, Catholic Charities Eastern Washington, Gonzaga Preparatory graduate, Whitworth student and Gonzaga Family Haven intern

Audio of Sen. Cantwell’s roundtable remarks is available HERE and HERE, and a transcript of Sen. Cantwell’s remarks can be found HERE. Photos of the event are available HERE