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Cedar Heights low-income housing preserved

"Residents living in Cedar Heights, the Section 8 apartments at 333 Lippert Drive West, will notice some good changes soon under the building's new ownership.The Seattle-based Low Income Housing Institute, a private, non-profit developer, owner and manager of low-income housing in Puget Sound, snapped up the property for $1.5 million Dec. 19, with $750,000 from the State Housing Trust Fund and a loan from Key Bank.The Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority alerted the Institute in January 2000 that the building's owner was putting the property up for sale.Low Income Housing Institute Executive Director Sharon Lee said the institute had to act quickly to save the property from losing its Section 8 designation.The federal department of Housing and Urban Development allowed the former owner to get out of Section 8 housing at the end of a 20-year contract, Lee said. That 20 years was up. The clock was ticking, she said.Now that it owns the building, the institute will keep Cedar Heights' designation as Section 8 housing for at least the next 50 years.Kitsap County, the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority, Enterprise Social Investment Corporation and the Washington State Housing Finance Commission will contribute money to renovate the building.Tenants will see improvements in the way of new siding, painting, kitchen cabinetry and new baseboard heaters. People will notice a difference, Lee said.Current management at the apartment complex will remain the same.Resident manager Carolyn Holbrook has lived at Cedar Heights since Dec. 1985 and began managing in 1987.She said tenants probably won't see much difference immediately and are taking the purchase in stride. The general consensus is they have some concerns, but they're concerns of the unknown, she said. She described LIHI's efforts as positive and said she is pleased they're going to be keeping existing management and providing upgrades.Cedar Heights has a variety of one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units, mature trees and nice grounds, good acreage and a children's play area outside, Lee said.The complex serves low-income families, senior citizens and people with disabilities. No one will be evicted with the change in ownership.According to the Institute, about 86 percent of the people currently living in the apartment complex earned less than the 35 percent of the Kitsap County median income - $49,800 for a family of four.Under Section 8 housing, tenants pay 30 percent of their income for housing costs and Housing and Urban Development pays the difference.Interested applicants who qualify for Section 8 housing will be placed on a waiting list and contacted as units become available. We're pretty much fully occupied now, but we expect some turnover, Lee said.She said the institute is pleased to have been able to preserve the availability of low income housing in Port Orchard. If (tenants) didn't have Section 8, they wouldn't be able to pay market for the rent, she said. "

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