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  • Nathan Ellis-Brown

Martin Way Housing & Shelter Breaks Ground

Olympia, WA – The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) in partnership with Interfaith Works have started construction on Martin Way Housing & Shelter, located at 161 Pattison St. NE, Olympia. This 5-story, new construction affordable rental building includes 65 permanent supportive housing units for homeless people operated by Low Income Housing Institute and a 60-bed 24/7 enhanced shelter on the ground floor operated by Interfaith Works (IW). Construction broke ground on November 23, 2020 and will be completed December 2021. LIHI is the owner/developer, the architect is Encore Architects and the contractor is Walsh Construction Co.

The apartment building will include 53 studio and 12 one-bedroom units, including one unit for an on-site manager. The affordability is targeted to households at or below 30% and 50% ($30,350 annual income and below for an individual) of the area median income. Units are set-aside for homeless seniors, veterans and people living with disabilities. The Interfaith Works shelter will serve 60 homeless individuals including singles and couples.

“Thank you to Olympia Mayor Cheryl Shelby and the City Council for selling city-owned property at a deep discount to LIHI so that we can start construction on critically needed low-Income housing and shelter for homeless individuals and couples. The 2020 Point in Time Count documents 995 individuals experiencing homelessness in Thurston County, which is a 24% increase over 2019. People should not have to live in cars, tents or be left to survive on the street. With winter and the pandemic here, it is truly heartbreaking to see so many people living unsheltered. With completion of construction next winter, over 140 vulnerable people will have a warm, safe place to live and thrive,” said Sharon Lee, LIHI Executive Director.

Mayor Cheryl Selby said, “We are excited to bring forward the first project built with Home Fund Levy dollars that will add 24-hour shelter capacity for our most vulnerable neighbors and add 64 new units of housing for homeless adults. Along with Home Fund dollars, this project would not be able to happen without funding partnerships including Thurston County, the state Housing Trust Fund, and the state Housing Finance Commission through federal tax credits. These partnerships are helping the City of Olympia take a huge step in providing shelter to those in our community who need it most.”

Meg Martin, Executive Director of Interfaith Works, said, “Our relationships with the faith and spiritual communities who have shouldered the work of addressing homelessness in our County for three decades remain strong and active — especially with our beloved home at First Christian Church. However, our stay at First Christian Church was never meant to be permanent. We are ecstatic to partner with LIHI to design a safe, clean, beautiful, and accessible facility that will fully realize the dignity and respect our current and future shelter guests deserve. This development represents a pivotal moment in the progression of the Thurston County Homeless Response Plan and we are incredibly grateful to the community for making it possible.”

LIHI will be the owner/operator of the building and lease the ground floor to IW to operate the enhanced shelter. Both agencies will work closely together through the construction, lease up, and ongoing operations of the facility. IW will be providing case management and support services.

Total development cost is $20.7 million. Funding sources for the housing includes the City of Olympia Home Fund, Thurston County, State Housing Trust Fund, Washington State Housing Trust Fund, Raymond James (tax credit investor), and JPMorgan Chase (construction financing). Funding for the IW shelter includes State Department of Commerce and City of Olympia Home Fund.

Interfaith Works, founded in Thurston County in 1974, has been providing shelter in church and spiritual community basements, social halls, and sanctuaries for nearly 30 years. IW is a key provider in the Thurston County Homeless Response System. For decades, IW has advocated for meeting both the immediate emergency needs for survival for those living unsheltered, as well as creating more permanent supportive housing for people living with complex challenges related to their physical and mental health. Those who have historically been screened out of the homeless response system tend to have higher interactions with emergency services and it costs significantly more to leave them out than it does to create permanent housing and support services tailored to their unique needs. The partnership between LIHI and IW aims to do just this — take a both/and approach to addressing the continued state of emergency of homelessness and affordable housing in Thurston County. IW helped to organize the passing of the City of Olympia’s Home Fund sales tax initiative in 2018. For more info:

The nonprofit Low Income Housing Institute was founded in 1991 and has over 65 properties under ownership and management. In addition, LIHI operates 12 tiny house villages in Olympia, Tacoma and Seattle as a crisis response to homelessness. For more info:

Project Info:

Architect – Encore Architects, PLLC General Contractor – Walsh Construction Co./Washington


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