Vista Park Homes to be transferred to Okanogan Housing Authority
BREWSTER – Ownership of the Vista Park Homes Apartments, a 25-unit affordable housing community at 509 S. Fourth Street and the city’s only Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) property, will soon be transferred to the Okanogan County Housing Authority.
The Brewster City Council voted to approve the ownership transfer at its regular meeting last Wednesday, March 8, upon the recommendation of city attorney Chuck Zimmerman.
The city secured grant funding to construct the Vista Park Homes in 1998 as “the only viable action for a low-income housing project,” said Zimmerman, “so the city created the Brewster Housing Authority (BHA).”
The tax write-off that came with the development has expired “and we need to move it into another opportunity,” Zimmerman said. “It doesn’t make economic sense to have a one-property housing authority.”
United Marketing, Inc. of Bellevue, Wash, manages Vista Park Homes. The Brewster Housing Authority has no paid staff so city clerk Misty Ruiz and Zimmerman have been handling BHA duties for the last several years.
About a year ago, the city entered discussions with the Okanogan County Housing Authority (OCHA) that has several properties under its umbrella and is a better fit for the Vista Park Homes development.
For its part, HAOC is eager to expand its presence in south Okanogan County.
“We’re very excited with this transfer,” said OCHA director Nancy Nash-Mendez. “It is a beautifully maintained property and it’s our mission to acquire affordable housing for the elderly, disabled and low-income residents.”
There are many steps involved in the transfer of ownership and Zimmerman has been working with OCHA’s legal counsel on indemnification issues for the city.
“We want to make sure nothing changes for the residents and there are no consequences for Brewster,” said Zimmerman. “The more variables you can take out of the process, the better off you are.”
Nash-Mendez said OCHA plans to keep United Marketing involved with Vista Park management to lessen any impact on residents there.
“The primary goal is that any changes do not affect the residents,” Nash-Mendez said.
It all proceeds as planned, the transfer should be completed within 90 days, said Zimmerman,
“It’s hard to find money to build new units so it’s vital that we maintain those already in existence,” Nash-Mendez said.