Yakima mother: 'I know my kids are safe here'

Yakima mother: 'I know my kids are safe here'
YAKIMA, Wash. -- KIMA is following your tax dollars to see how exactly millions of dollars will be used to create affordable housing in Yakima.

Back in November, various housing agencies across Yakima County were collectively awarded more than $7-millon dollar for low-income housing.

Alina Barragan is a mother of five, who for months, was homeless. Her family now lives in one of Next Step Housing's Yakima apartment complexes.

"We came here and we saw the building, saw the environment here, we saw everything and said yeah, this is a place for us," said Barragan.

Barragan's family is one of 300 across Yakima living comfortably thanks to Next Step Housing. That number will soon grow.

"Right between these two buildings will be building F. They'll be our two townhomes," said Next Step Housing Asset Manager Connie Cleary.

More than $2-million from the state will help build nearly two dozen new apartments. High demand prompted the addition of phase three at the complex.

"It's a powerful thing to say: 'No, we don't have a vacancy.' But, now I can say I'm going to have 22 new units I can fill," said Cleary.

Some of the new apartments will be designated for homeless veterans.

There is a zero-tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol; a lot of the residents are recovering from an addiction.

"Looking at the bigger picture, is this a good thing for the whole community, to have this housing in place for families who need it?" KIMA asked.

"I believe it is," said Cleary. "They're first confused because they see it as a place where drug addiction and alcoholics go to live instead of seeing it as a place where we recover and heal and we learn how to be a part of society in a positive way again."

For mothers like Alina, it offers a sense of security.

"I know my kids are safe here," said Barragan. "It feels really good."

A feeling dozens more will soon have using millions of dollars from the state's housing trust fund.

Next Step Housing has hundreds of people on its waiting list.

Crews will break ground on the new buildings this spring. The state also awarded millions of dollars to housing projects in Granger, Sunnyside and Toppenish.