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Redmond residents clash over supportive housing project

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(The Center Square) – Redmond residents are divided over a supportive housing project as the city continues to work to increase its access to housing for low-income and homeless people.

The nonprofit organization Plymouth Housing is developing a six-story building with 100 supportive housing units and ground-floor commercial space in downtown Redmond. The building located near Anderson Park will provide the housing units to extremely low-income adults who are exiting homelessness

Redmond took over the supportive housing project after Kenmore originally intended to allocate $3.2 million in funds for the development of this supportive housing in partnership with Plymouth, as previously reported by The Center Square.

Kenmore ultimately rejected the proposal despite securing more than $30 million in funding for the project.

Redmond has already set the $3.2 million in allocated affordable housing resources to supplant the Kenmore funds. Notably, the city dedicated $10 million toward increasing affordable housing capacity in its 2023-2024 budget.

During Tuesday’s Redmond City Council meeting, a number of residents voiced their concerns over the project, emphasizing drug use that is prevalent among the homeless.

“This is just another step in the city council creating another problem instead of actually solving a problem,” one resident said in opposition to the Plymouth Housing project during the public comment period. “You’re turning Redmond into an unrecognizable city due to your poor planning.”

Redmond residents in attendance at the city council meeting held up signs stating they “demand a say on drug-allowed homeless building in downtown Redmond.”

The campaign website Safe Eastside is calling out the Redmond City Council for approving the transfer of public land purchased by the city for $5.5 million to Plymouth Housing.

The website claims that the city council hastily approved the public land transfer, without allowing public input and that Plymouth Housing will be lenient on allowing homeless people into the building in Redmond.

There are concerns from residents regarding Plymouth Housing allowing sex offenders into the building. However, according to the organization’s frequently asked questions website page, “nobody who is living in subsidized housing in this area can be a registered sex offender.”

Plymouth Housing does note that it screens for certain kinds of offenses like meth production and some sex offenses, but it does not track residents’ personal history.

Several people expressed support for the project at the city council meeting.

Some of the commenters said that Plymouth Housing was the organization that helped them out of homelessness and are now Redmond residents themselves.

“I would urge those in the room who are basing their arguments on fear or stereotypes to just remember that an individual is not just one fact about them – people are people,” one resident said in support of the project.

Funding sources for the project’s construction also include low-income housing tax credits, A Regional Coalition for Housing, State Housing Trust Fund, Plymouth Housing, and state direct appropriation.

According to new projections, Redmond will need nearly 24,000 units of affordable housing by 2044. Redmond is a high-cost area with a median income of $137,000 per year.

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