Community Action Connections to open group home in Pasco

By Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldMay 17, 2014 

The brick home in east Pasco has four bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Soon, it will have furniture and occupants.

The nonprofit Community Action Connections is preparing to open a group home at the Owen Avenue site.

It will offer an affordable, supportive place to live for four people -- most likely men, although that's still being finalized -- who are homeless and/or disabled.

Their rents -- at $305 a month including utilities -- at first will be subsidized by the nonprofit, but the goal is that occupants become self-sufficient.

"We're thrilled" to be opening the new group home as there is a great need, said Judith Gidley, executive director of Community Action Connections, or CAC.

"This isn't just a house you stick people in. It's a program," added Mark Baysinger, deputy director. "There aren't a lot of places like this that have this structure and build toward someone's self-sufficiency."

CAC has provided supportive housing services for years, placing clients in apartments and group homes and offering counseling, case management and other services.

But the house at 533 S. Owen Ave. is the first one the nonprofit has owned itself.

It bought the house from the city of Pasco, after applying for and receiving $126,000 in Franklin County money for affordable housing projects.

The home originally was in a different spot -- near Stevens Middle School on North 22nd Avenue. The Pasco School District bought the property so it could expand Stevens' playfields, and offered the house to the city.

Pasco moved the home, rehabilitated it using federal dollars and put it on the market as part of a program to assist low- to moderate-income people with home ownership.

However, a sale didn't work out until CAC came along. The organization aims to have the home ready for occupants by the end of the month.

The Benton Affordable Housing Association will serve as the property manager, with CAC providing the case management and other supportive services, which could range from help with transportation to hygiene kits.

Several groups are pitching in to help furnish the Owen Avenue home, including Columbia Industries, Goodwill Industries of the Columbia and Bethel Church in Richland.

A $4,166 donation to CAC from Windermere Real Estate/Tri-Cities of Kennewick is helping with landscaping and other needs at the house.

More items still are needed, including a dining room table and chairs, dressers, other furniture, towels, dishes and utensils, pots and pans, a microwave, toaster and a washer and dryer.

People also can make tax deductible cash donations to CAC for the group home.

For more information about the house or to make a donation, call 545-4042.

-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; sschilling@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @saraTCHerald

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