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New apartments set aside for homeless UWT students

The new Koz on Market is making affordable units available to homeless and low-income UWT students.
The new Koz on Market is making affordable units available to homeless and low-income UWT students.

According to a 2014 University of Washington-Tacoma survey, 14 percent of its students at the time were “housing insecure.”

With housing costs rising in the city, the need for affordable apartments has intensified.

On Tuesday, Tacoma Housing Authority, Koz Development, the University of Washington Tacoma and the Associated Students of UW Tacoma announced that 52 of the 104 studio units at Koz on Market would be offered at affordable rates for UWT students facing housing hardships.

The development at South 17th and Market streets is across from UWT and the Tacoma YMCA. It is offering 52 units for low-income students, with up to 26 of the units going to homeless UWT students as part of THA’s College Housing Assistance Program, which has also helped address housing needs for Tacoma Community College students.

According to THA: “With this expansion of the CHAP to the University of Washington Tacoma, THA now will house or pay to house up to 252 homeless or near homeless college students in Tacoma.”

According to Tuesday’s announcement, once the demand is met for the homeless students, the units will become available to other individuals in the following order of priority:

UWT students experiencing housing insecurity.

UWT students transferring from Tacoma Community College who were enrolled in THA’s College Housing Assistance Program.

Other UWT students.

Other low-income households.

The development has no on-site parking, one of the first sites developed in the city’s reduced parking area. The apartments are so-called “micro-units,” with about 250 square feet of studio space, 9-foot high ceilings and furnished with a bed, table and chairs.

The development opened Jan. 4.

Koz President and CEO Cathy Reines told The News Tribune via email that for the 52 units dedicated to the THA program, “the student rent, which include all utilities, high-speed Wi-Fi and the furnishings, ranges from $392 to $784 depending on the student’s income level.”

Market rate for its units run from $800 to $950 a month, with utilities and the same amenities included.

“We pride ourselves on one-single payment and allowing our residents to move in without having to worry about, and incurring the costs related to utilities and internet,” Reines wrote.

The units are made possible as THA helps to cover the difference between what’s charged to the students and low-income individuals and market rate rent costs, as explained in its announcement.

“THA offers rental subsidies to market-rate and nonprofit owners of housing who agree to rent some of their apartments to households with low-incomes. THA offers the owner a steady annual subsidy rather than one that varies month-to-month. It offers a steady and affordable rent to tenants.”

Additionally, according to the announcement, “UW Tacoma has funds to help students pay for their security deposit and screening fees.”

People who want to apply for one of the units should contact Monique Hicks, via email KozonMarket@coastmgt.com or by calling 206-889-2174.

“This partnership between THA and a private developer is an important community investment in our students and their families,” UWT Chancellor Mark Pagano said in Tuesday’s release. “We are very proud of the initiative our student leadership has taken to recognize what students need to succeed, and the role they played bringing THA and Koz together.”

THA continues to seek partners in future projects, with a specific interest in locations near schools and colleges. Those interested in pursuing a housing/funding partnership can learn more at tacomahousing.net.

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