Oct 23

Senior Housing: Van Ee Apartments

by Renata Birkenbuel

For those age 62 and over, a year-old apartment building in Kalispell has garnered strong community collaboration in the Flathead Valley.

The Van Ee Apartments were named after Mrs. Ruth Van Ee Saholt, mother to Accessible Space, Inc., development company president Stephen Vander Schaaf.

“We’ve developed a close relationship with the Northwest Montana Community Action Program, the Area Agency on Aging in Kalispell, as well as the senior centers in Whitefish and Kalispell.” says Devin C. Vander Schaaf, marketing coordinator for Accessible Space, Inc., and Van Ee Saholt’s grandson.

Located at 420 Grandview Drive in Kalispell, the affordable, government-subsidized Van Ee Apartments qualify as a Section 202 Supportive Housing Program for the Elderly, according to Vander Schaaf and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Available to “very low-income seniors,” according to Vander Schaaf, rent is based on 30 percent of a tenant’s gross adjusted monthly income.

“It is not an assisted living facility,” he stresses. “It is an independent living facility strictly for seniors.”

Although the 23 units spread over two floors, prospective tenants must “income qualify,” which means that their annual income must be under 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). There is no minimum income to qualify and no application fee, but applicants must have a good rental history.

Included in the rent cost are heat, water and trash. Amenities in the building include an elevator, a patio with gas grill, a piano room and a multipurpose community room complete with kitchen.

“In the units there are lowered light switches and counter tops, grab bars in the bath and shower, and a thermostat with individually controlled heating and cooling,” he adds. “There are wheelchair accessible apartments available at Van Ee Apartments, too.”

Set on 1.9 acres, the Van Ee Apartments are currently fully occupied. However, Vander Schaaf says there are vacancies in the property company’s “apartment communities” located in Helena.

They are the Aspen village Apartments for seniors and the Queen City Estates apartments, which are reserved for adults with physical disabilities. Both are open for immediate residency. Applications can be found at www.accessible space.org, the primary site for all Accessible Space properties throughout the nation.

Besides the Helena properties, Accessible Space, Inc. owns The Portage in Great Falls and the Summer Wood Apartments in Bozeman.

Significantly, Accessible Space, Inc. maintains a statewide presence throughout Montana. Its properties consist of what Vander Schaaf tags “communities” of their own: 11 apartment communities, including four senior apartment “communities” and seven apartment communities for adults with disabilities. They can all be found on the main website, as well.

In particular, Accessible Space, Inc., provides senior housing in seven other states, too: Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming and Wisconsin.

Renata Birkenbuel is a Great Falls freelance writer and former Missoulian sportswriter.


For those interested in learning more about Accessible Space, Inc. (ASI for short) or any of its apartment communities available nationwide, call 800- 466-7722.

The easily navigated www.accessiblespace.org site breaks down each separate property into its own user-friendly page, which includes key information about selection criteria, housing applications, a map, directions to the property and a downloadable brochure.

The Van Ee Apartments link:

For more information about Section 202 HUD housing, see:


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