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Low-income housing complex for seniors opens in Vancouver, right across from homeless encampments

All of the Vancouver Housing Authority's low-income housing units have at least 1,000 people on a waitlist.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Off Mill Plain Boulevard in Vancouver sits a brand new four-story housing complex, made especially for low-income seniors.

“Today is huge for me, huge,” said Beth Funk, who is about to move in. She spoke through tears of joy. “My life will be stable for the first time since I was 19.”

For most of Funk's life, she’s been in and out of homelessness. That all changed on Friday.

“I’ve got my own apartment for the first time ever and I’m really excited about it.”

The complex is called Miles Terrace. All the tenants are 55 and older and make about 50% of the area's median income, which means rent is between $1,000 and $1,400 a month.

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“Since many of our residents that come into these are actually making lower than that, we are adding some rent subsidy as well,” said Roy Johnson, head of the Vancouver Housing Authority.

Monday is move-in day, and there’s already a waitlist.

“Unfortunately, the creation of affordable senior housing has not been real robust over the last couple years, so we’re happy to add this to the portfolio,” said Johnson.

But the city’s housing crisis lingers on. In fact, directly across the street is a homeless encampment.

“I wanted to have a library when I moved into a new house so I started collecting books,” said Sarah Taylor, who lives at the homeless camp across from Miles Terrace.

On Friday, Taylor was picking up the mess that someone left after they destroyed her camp.

“I came home after going out for a walk and everything was thrown around over here. This happens all the time, especially to me,” she explained.

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Taylor is in the process of finding housing, which hasn’t been easy.

“I’ve called, I’ve done every assessment, I’ve done everything and they give you case managers here and the case managers are supposed to help you get into housing Section 8 and what not … they have not gotten back to me,” she said.

Taylor's tent is now a front-row seat as others like Funk who have experienced homelessness step into their new home down the street. Without an opportunity to do the same, she doesn't share any of Funk's joy.

“I think it’s absolutely disgusting,” Taylor said.

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