Tacoma, WA – Senator Maria Cantwell, distinguished guests, management team, and residents celebrated the grand opening of Oak Trace Apartments with a ribbon cutting, refreshments, and tours.
“Tacoma, like many parts of the country, is facing an affordable housing crisis. According to the State Department of Commerce, there are only 12 affordable and available units of housing for every 100 extremely low-income families in Tacoma,” said Cantwell.
Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland joined Senator Cantwell in voicing the urgent need for affordable housing.
“Affordable housing near amenities helps families transition into stability,” said Strickland. “We appreciate Oak Trace for their dedication to Tacoma.”
|Senator Maria Cantwell||Resident ambassador, Angelica Bashay|
Additional distinguished guests included Tacoma City Council Member Joe Lonergan; Bruce Kilen, Board President of Trillium Housing Services; Bob Peterson, Manager of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission’s Multifamily Housing and Community Facilities Division; Daniel Murillo, City of Tacoma Housing Division Manager; and Ricardo Noguera, Director of Tacoma’s Community and Economic Development Department.
Two Resident Ambassadors represented Oak Trace Apartments by sharing their stories at the grand opening.
Resident Yvonne Peko lost her job while she was pregnant. Facing a rent increase of $400, Peko knew she would have to find a new place for herself, her husband, and their four children to live. Thankfully, Peko said, Oak Trace Apartments was there to help.
“Affordable housing is absolutely important right now,” Peko said. “The demand is unbelievable.”
Resident Angelica Bashay also recounted a story of hope amidst struggles. Bashay said she was working to get her life put together after some rough times. “I lost faith in my higher powers,” Bashay said. “Oak Trace was there to love me when I couldn’t love myself.”
The grand opening marked the completion of a community several years in the making. Vaughn Bay Construction broke ground at Oak Trace in October 2016 and the first building was completed in April 2017. As each building was finished, the homes filled quickly.
“The response to the opening of this community was overwhelming,” said Sue Baker, president of Cambridge Management, Inc. “We had multiple applicants for every unit and were able to move families in almost as soon as the units were completed.”
To help address the Tacoma housing need, The Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority (TCRA) granted Tacoma-based development partners, Trillium Housing Services and MacDonald Ladd Developments, a $300,000 loan for the Oak Trace Apartments. Red Stone Equity Manager LIHTC equity and Bank of the West Construction and Term Loans provided additional funding.
This funding allows Oak Trace to provide one, two, three, and four-bedroom homes to low-income families in Tacoma. The homes in the 60-unit community are designed to be affordable for households earning 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) or less. With some reserved for households making 30 percent of the AMI or less. Oak Trace residents pay as little as $475 per month for three-bedroom apartments, while similar apartments rent for $1,425 at market rate.
Senator Cantwell has called for expansion of the LIHTC program by 50 percent, which she says would help bring more than 2,500 more affordable homes to Tacoma. For families like those at Oak Trace, this housing is crucial.
“We’re honored to help address the housing crisis,” said Jennifer Wood, director of property management at Cambridge Management, Inc. “We look forward to being part of the solution moving forward.”
Visit the Oak Trace Facebook page for more photos.
Top photo, from left to right: Dave Westfall, Trillium Housing Services; Bruce Kilen, Trillium Housing Services; Tacoma City Council Member Joe Lonergan; Senator Maria Cantwell; Paul Fortino, Vaughn Bay Construction; Mayor Marilyn Strickland, City of Tacoma; Angelica Bashay, Resident Ambassador; Yvonne Peko, Resident Ambassador; Sue Baker, Cambridge Management, Inc.; Steve Page, Vaughn Bay Construction