Press Release

Tiki Apartment Owners Partner with Tacoma Housing Authority to Transform Newly Renovated Apartment Building into Affordable Housing for Homeless Tacoma Community College Students

October 11, 2018

THA and TCC’s College Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) is a first of its kind model in the United States and named by Harvard’s Kennedy School as one of nation’s 25 most innovative governmental initiatives for 2018.

TACOMA, WA – October 11, 2018 –Tacoma Housing Authority (THA), and CWD Investments (owners of Highland Flats, formerly the Tiki Apartments) are pleased to announce an agreement that will enable the 62-unit building to become part of THA and TCC’s innovative partnership to house homeless and near homeless TCC students.

THA and TCC’s College Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) provides THA rental assistance to homeless or near homeless TCC students, most of whom are parents of young children. Harvard’s Kennedy School recently named the CHAP among the nation’s top 25 most innovative governmental initiatives for 2018. The expansion of their CHAP partnership to Highland Flats will add new housing units just down the street from TCC’s campus. In this way, Highland Flats supplements other properties that THA has purchased within walking distance of the campus, all available to these students.

This expanded partnership between THA and CWD Investments uses an innovative THA rental subsidy. (THA is offering the same subsidy to other property owners (For details on THA’s offerings visit the RFP page) The arrangement offers many advantages to TCC students, CWD Investments, and the neighborhood of West Tacoma:

  • The partnership adds 62 apartments to the CHAP program to house homeless or near homeless TCC students. Highland Flats gives these TCC students first claim on any vacancy.
  • Highland Flats is within easy walking distance of the TCC campus and on major bus line.
  • Vacancies not taken by TCC students will be reserved for other extremely low-income households in Tacoma (incomes under 30% of the Area’s Median Income).
  • THA will provide an annual subsidy of $560,000 to make the apartments affordable to these households.
  • All units will pass THA’s quality inspection standards.
  • All tenants will enjoy full tenant protections, including “good cause” requirements for terminations.
  • CWD Investments, which recently purchased the Tiki, will make a substantial investment in a long overdue rehabilitation to make Highland Flats, not only affordable with THA subsidies, but also safe, inviting and attractive. In this way, CWD Investments has made a large, necessary, and timely investment in Tacoma’s housing stock.

A college can offer wonderful programs and support services, but if students don’t have a place to go home to at night, chances are they won’t be finishing their programs. CHAP gives students who are among the most likely to drop out a way to stay and finish.

Mary Chikwinya, TCC Vice President for Student Affairs

When the idea surfaced with THA and TCC to use this property as a means to house low-income TCC students, we knew it was a solution we wanted to be part of. We’ve done a lot of listening in the past several months and this partnership is a way we can help.

Chad Duncan, Owner at CWD Investments

THA is proud to welcome CWD Investments to the THA-TCC partnership. The Highland Flats apartments are particularly valuable because rents in West Tacoma continue to rise above what is affordable to TCC students even with THA’s CHAP rental assistance. This partnership is an excellent investment in these striving but struggling students. A TCC degree is a key to their adult prosperity. And since most of them are parents, CHAP is also an investment in the lives and prospects of their children. That makes this partnership a very good use of scarce THA housing dollars.

Michael Mirra, THA Executive Director