Cascadian Apartments moving away from Section 8 contract

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WENATCHEE — Residents at Wenatchee’s Cascadian Building can expect some changes in the way their Section 8 subsidized rent is handled.

Kenmore real estate developer Tryg Fortun has owned the Cascadian Apartments since 2004, renting its 84 one-bedroom apartments to low-income seniors and disabled adults. But a year from now, he plans to drop the building’s Section 8 contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“Our intent is to continue to have Section 8,” Fortun said Friday. “It’s simply the paperwork for us is too much. We’re just trying to have less paperwork in our lives than more.”

That won’t force any tenants to move out, but by 2021 it will require them to seek out Section 8 vouchers from the Chelan County-Wenatchee Housing Authority, instead applying through the building’s managers. Tenants receiving HUD Section 8 assistance pay a percentage of their income toward their rent, with the remainder subsidized through the federal government.

The current contract dedicates all the Cascadian’s units to low-income housing. As subsidized tenants leave, their units would become available to non-Section 8 applicants, at market rates.

Fortun’s family owns several housing complexes throughout Washington, but the Cascadian is their only HUD-contracted building.

“It’s the only one that we have like this, and it is much, much more labor-intensive for us to take care of that building,” Fortun said. “… The whole thing is just much more daunting than we could handle.”

Housing managers for the city of Wenatchee and the Housing Authority couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

Built in 1929, the Cascadian began its life as a hotel, and converted to residential apartments in 1971. It’s known for its outstanding views of the surrounding Wenatchee Valley.