Korean Women’s Association Brings More Affordable Housing to Tacoma

May 4, 2022

On Monday, May 2, The Korean Women’s Association (KWA) welcomed Derek Kilmer, U.S. Representative from Washington’s 6th District, to its Lakewood headquarters as he congratulated the organization for receiving $36 million in funding, including a HUD 202 Capital Advance funding award and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, to develop more affordable housing in downtown Tacoma.

Representative Kilmer addressed KWA staff in their newly renovated Lifelong Learning Center, which will serve as a venue for providing classes and training to the many clients served through the organization’s advocacy and education programs. KWA Executive Director, Michael Swenson and KWA Board Senior Advisor and Housing Committee Chair, Sulja Warnick were both at the event to welcome Representative Kilmer.

US Representative Kilmer with KWA board members and staff in KWA’s newly renovated Life Long Learning Center.

Executive Director, Michael Swenson, when speaking to KWA staff members present said, “This project is in alignment with our mission. It is not just housing. It’s going to provide multi-cultural, multi-lingual services regardless of race or ethnicity to a diverse community with a learning center used for education and training.”

Left to Right: Victoria Hwang, Sulja Warnick, Kyung Suk Arbeeny, Derek Kilmer, Chongson Abbott, Chong Dameron. Not pictured: Young Suk Goering.

In congratulating KWA on receiving the funding, Derek Kilmer said he has incredible enthusiasm. “We need more housing. We need more senior housing, we need more affordable housing, we need more homeless housing, we need more housing period. And the work that your association is doing is really important. So, I’m excited to be a partner to you in that. So, I’m happy to pick up a shovel and hammer and let’s just get this thing built!”

Board member, Sulja Warnick, in sharing her enthusiasm for the project reflected on early inspirations for KWA’s efforts to provide affordable housing and her belief that we needed a better situation for seniors in America.

KWA plans to develop 88 units of affordable housing, including a manager’s unit, in downtown Tacoma at 15th and Tacoma Avenue. The project will provide deeply affordable housing for older adults and will include building design and services to support residents’ ability to age in place. It will include both studio and 1-bedroom units with some units receiving an operating subsidy through the HUD 202 program and others receiving project-based Section 8 vouchers.

The project will set-aside units for frail elderly, seniors who are Veterans and the homeless population. Onsite services will be provided through a resident services coordinator. Residents will benefit from access to a full array of KWA programs and services in a service center in the building. KWA will host several community forums in June 2022 to determine what services will have the greatest impact.

KWA cares how people live with a belief that a home supports the dignity and comfort of each person and that a community that is well-housed fulfills one of society’s most fundamental responsibilities. The project at 15th and Tacoma Avenue is set to be completed in 2024.