Submitted by Housing Authority of Grays Harbor County

The Housing Authority of Grays Harbor County (HAGHC) is launching a major renovation effort in order to preserve existing affordable housing throughout the community.  HAGHC will host a community meeting to discuss the scope of the work and economic opportunities for local contractors in addition to general information for the community.

emerson hotel hoquiam
Connie Parson is sitting next to the Emerson Manor mail boxes, which are built into the space the Emerson Hotel fish tank used to occupy in the early days.

Dwindling federal funds and long-term reductions to the operating budget have prevented HAGHC from making these much needed structural updates until now, with the introduction of a special private funding opportunity.

The special renovation project will be under the operational title, Herman Johnson LLLP. Through approximately $32 million in private investment funds from the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Program, the project aims to completely renovate all 10 existing low-income and Section 8 properties across Grays Harbor within 22 months. The renovation will ensure that this essential housing is viable for the long-term.

Executive Director Jerry Raines states that “the renovation will address millions in deferred capital improvements and will help allow the projects and the Authority to be less dependent on federal funds long term.  Some of the developments have had minimal updates since constructed in the 1960s and 1970s, and the modernization will be the largest in the Housing Authority’s history.”

It is critical to preserve Grays Harbor’s affordable housing because limited federal housing funds have become more scarce as the need for housing continues to grow.  This unique funding model allows HAGHC to make the much needed upgrades without using public funds. Under this structure, a private investor will fund the project in exchange for access to tax credits. HAGHC will act as the general partner of the partnership and after the 15 year timeline, it is expected that the HAGHC will acquire the investor’s interest in the partnership.

Residents will continue to pay at least 30 percent of their income in rent and utilities under two federal housing programs:  the Housing Choice Voucher Program and the Project-Based Section 8 Program.

The result aims to be a major boost for the residents as well as the local economy. The construction will be carried out by Walsh Construction, a Pacific Northwest company, which will set up shop in Aberdeen in order to be available locally for the duration of the project. The team also intends to do as much local product purchases and hiring as possible.

Herman Johnson LLLP will start in earnest in the spring of 2018, when the ten properties throughout Grays Harbor will begin construction. Renovations will include 10 properties..

The ten properties are:

  • Broadway Manor: a 69-unit elderly/disabled public housing project
  • Elma Manor: a 30-unit elderly/disabled public housing project
  • Emerson Manor: a 59-unit elderly/disabled Project-Based Section 8 development
  • Harbor Manor: a 24-unit elderly/disabled Project-Based Section 8 development
  • Hoquiam Manor: a 40-unit elderly/disabled public housing project
  • Aberdeen Manor: a 130-unit elderly/disabled public housing project
  • Riverside III: a 20-unit Project-Based Section 8 development
  • Skyview Manor: a 30-unit elderly/disabled public housing project
  • Emerson Court: a 50-unit family, public housing project
  • Pacific Court: a 46-unit family, public housing project

Residents may relocate temporarily, but the project team has the goal of minimizing the impact on residents as much as possible.

About the Housing Authority of Grays Harbor County: HAGHC was created in 1951 to address the shortage of safe and sanitary housing in Grays Harbor County.  HAGHC has expanded its portfolio over the years and currently manages 518 units and 223 Housing Choice Vouchers with an annual budget of $3.7 million and $14 million in assets.

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