Kenai Peninsula Housing Initiatives Executive Director Steven Rouse testifies before the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

More affordable housing coming to Kenai

More affordable housing for senior and restricted income residents is coming to the City of Kenai following the approval of a conditional donation of land to Kenai Peninsula Housing Initiatives, Inc., by the Kenai City Council at its July 7 meeting.

KPHI is a nonprofit housing organization that aims to provide low-income, senior and special needs housing to residents of the Kenai Peninsula. The organization, established in 2003, manages properties in Kenai, Soldotna, Seward, Homer and Ninilchik.

KPHI Executive Director Steven Rouse formally requested the donation during a presentation he gave to the council earlier this year. The city has previously transferred land for KPHI projects, including for Phase I of its Clear Pointe development and Phase I of its Kenai Meadows development.

The land donated by the city earlier this month is 2.5 acres and is adjacent to KPHI’s Kenai Meadows property on Redoubt Avenue. Rouse said in his presentation to the council that the intention of the new project is to develop 24 units of senior and low-income multifamily rental apartments.

The Kenai City Council unanimously approved the donation.

“I support this ordinance and I think Mr. Rouse has got a track record here in the City of Kenai along with other communities on the peninsula and very good outcomes of those projects,” said Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel. “I hope to see that continue in the City of Kenai.”

Rouse said Wednesday that the need for additional housing has been gauged via market studies conducted by Novogradac and commissioned by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, which showed both a demand for senior housing and a growing demand in the region.

The organization expects a 2021 market study will identify and support the demand for the additional housing units that will become available through the land donated by the City of Kenai. Like with other KPHI housing initiatives, Rouse said, the project — called Rainbow Flats — will be conducted in two phases.

More information about Kenai Peninsula Housing Initiatives Inc. can be found on the organization’s website at kphi.net.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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