The Housing Authority of Skagit County is seeking a contractor to build a 51-unit affordable housing development in Mount Vernon.

Executive Director Melanie Corey said the project will primarily serve farmworkers and their families, but will also have units for people with disabilities and other low-income households.

The development will be spread between five buildings on about 4.5 acres at 4100 East College Way, east of Waugh Road.

Corey said her goal is to start construction in spring 2021, with completion set for spring 2022.

While the housing authority has been building new housing — including a recent addition to its farmworker housing at Raspberry Ridge in Burlington — Corey said it’s been some time since it opened a new development in Mount Vernon.

“It was time to build one in Mount Vernon,” she said, adding the city has a higher rate of low-income families than other cities in the county.

The project is fully funded, with contributions from the state Housing Trust Fund and state Housing Finance Commission. However, she said she may seek local donations to cover Mount Vernon’s impact and utility fees.

Skagit County’s prominent agriculture industry attracts migrant workers who don’t make enough to rent on the open market.

She said 38 of the units will be reserved for farmworkers, and 12 will be available for those earning less than 50% of the county’s median income, with a focus on those with disabilities. The remaining unit is for an onsite manager, she said.

Regardless of which demographic the development serves, Corey said more units of affordable housing are needed in the county.

“We are not at a place where we can accommodate existing need,” she said.

— Reporter Brandon Stone: bstone@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon_SVH

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