Apartments for disabled adults open in Kennewick

The seed for Kennewick Perry Suites was planted several years ago during a conversation between Andrea Mallonee and Sherry Erickson.

"We sat in the kitchen one day, putting our heads together, thinking, we both have daughters with disabilities. What are we going to do when they get out of high school? What's their long-term approach to living independently?" Mallonee said.

The friends helped form the nonprofit Modern Living Services. And on Monday, they celebrated the grand opening of their group's new apartment complex for disabled adults. Kennewick Perry Suites is at 66 N. Perry St. in Kennewick.

Mallonee and Erickson said it was gratifying and emotional to see the project realized. "It's kind of breathing a sigh of relief," Erickson said.

The complex has 14 apartments for adults with intellectual or physical disabilities.

The project was paid for with $1.8 million from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, about $739,000 from the state Housing Trust Fund, $300,000 from Benton County and $150,000 from the city of Kennewick.

HUD will provide ongoing money for operations and subsidizing rent. Tim Sovold, a Seattle-based HUD official, said the project was one of the last of its kind to receive HUD dollars, noting similar projects haven't been funded the last few years.

"It's great to see this get built and finished. ... Hopefully in the future maybe some of that funding will come back so other great projects like this can benefit," he said during the ceremony.

Several organizations that helped with the project were recognized, including mentor agency Shalom Ecumenical Center, developer Goodale & Barbieri Co. of Spokane, contractor Opp & Seibold General Construction in Walla Walla and Richland architect James Stenkamp.

Community members also pitched in with donations, from benches to a pergola for the grounds. Activities such as art programs and cooking classes are planned on site, and Kennewick Perry Suites also has a community garden with a bed for each apartment.

Residents began moving in earlier this month, and the complex already has a waiting list.

Mallonee, president of Modern Living Services, said the group doesn't anticipate stopping with the Perry complex. "This is the first of many projects to come. Our hope is to see more projects like this take place in our community," she said.

For more information about Modern Living Services, go to www.modernlivingservices.org.

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