Abandoned homes to become affordable housing units in West Central neighborhood

Five Victorian homes in Spokane’s West Central neighborhood are coming back to life – the City calls them ‘zombie houses,’ and they were just sitting unoccupied, until now.

Years ago, those houses were moved to make room for a car wash, but the nonprofit that bought them never finished renovating them.

Now, those five zombie houses will be resurrected as affordable housing.

Keith Kelley is a Spokane property manager who has been working to get more affordable housing in Spokane. So, about a month and a half ago, he jumped at the chance to buy two of the five properties.

“We have over 2,000 families with housing vouchers and no place to live,” Kelley said.

This project takes a bit more work than some of his others, but that doesn’t matter to him – he just wants more housing available in Spokane.

“We have a real crisis in our region right now,” Kelley said. “Just a lack of inventory and strong population growth isn’t really helping the cause.”

The barn-style duplex at 1723 W. Maxwell Avenue is one of five abandoned properties from the car wash fiasco.

Kelley said it needs about $175,000 to restore, but in the end, two more families will have an affordable place to live.

Neighbors are also thrilled to see work being done on the property. They said until last month, the vacant home on Maxwell was always surrounded by homeless people.

“They would peek through the windows, and I had one break in my back door,” Rachel Orlin said.

Kelley said his two properties should be finished in the spring, and after that people can find out how to apply to move in.

Habitat for Humanity also bought two of the other abandoned properties for $88,000, also with plans to make them affordable housing.