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Work begins on first Eastside housing project for homeless vets

King County Executive Dow Constantine, Bellevue City Council member Jennifer Roberston, Rev. Christina Jillard, and Bellevue City Council member Conrad Lee were all shovel bearers during the ground-breaking ceremony for Andrew
King County Executive Dow Constantine, Bellevue City Council member Jennifer Roberston, Rev. Christina Jillard, and Bellevue City Council member Conrad Lee were all shovel bearers during the ground-breaking ceremony for Andrew's Glen.
— image credit: Kelly Davis / Kelly Davis Photography

The St. Andrew's Housing Group broke ground Monday on what will become the first Eastside housing project for homeless military veterans, located in Bellevue.

Andrew's Glen will consist of a four-story complex with 40 living units and a parking garage on the campus of St. Margaret's Episcopalian Church in Factoria.

The project is expected to be finished within 12 to 18 months at an estimated cost of $12.2 million.

Twenty of the homes will go to veterans, while the remainder serve as traditional affordable housing.

The 2008 One Night Count for King County found 5,808 individuals living in emergency shelters and transitional housing, with eight percent of those people identified as veterans.

"These people served our country so well, and they deserve to have these kinds of services," said Metropolitan King County Council member Bob Feguson.

Planners say Andrew's Glen, located across from Newporth High and a few blocks from Factoria Mall, will provide its residents with easy access to transit, public schools, and shopping.

"That's what we need for the homeless – to be surrounded by the best that our communities have to offer so we can help them get back on track," said Ann Levine, executive director of St. Andrew's Housing Group.

St. Margaret's made room for Andrew's Glen by selling the development rights for around 4,200 square feet of its campus.

The church developed the plan as a way to expand its mission of serving the homeless while also paying down debt from a recent renovation.

St. Margaret's was a founding member of Congregations for the Homeless, which provides food and temporary shelter for homeless men at Eastside churches.

A thrift store already takes up space on the St. Margaret's campus. The shop, owned and operated by the church, has donated over $1 million to non-profit organizations since opening in 1977.

Funding for Andrew's Glen comes from six sources, including the Veterans and Human Services Levy that King County voters approved in 2005, A Regional Coalition of Housing (ARCH), and the state Department of Commerce.

Ferguson said dedicated funding from the levy has been critical to providing human services in the wake of the recent economic downturn.

"Just to give you a heads up, that levy is due for renewal next year," he told a crowd at the ground-breaking ceremony.

Planners expect traffic along Factoria Boulevard to improve once Andrew's Glen is in place. St. Margaret's will reconfigure its parking lot as part of the project, moving its driveway to an area controlled by a traffic light.

Whether or not Andrew's Glen truly provides the only housing project for homeless veterans on the Eastside may be up for debate. A housing project dedicated to the same sub-group is located in Renton, although many people consider that to be South King County.

St. Andrew's operates traditional affordable-housing projects throughout the Eastside, including two in Issaquah, one near Bellevue College, one on Mercer Island, and another near downtown Kirkland. None of those are dedicated to serving homeless veterans.

(Originally published April 5. Article was updated to show the correct size of the Andrews Glen parcel.)

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