City officials announced $47 million will be awarded to affordable housing projects on Thursday at Capitol Hill Station’s future “transit-oriented development,” which will include 110 affordable apartments.
Rising rents are driving neighbors out of the city or onto the streets, said Steve Walker, director of the Office of Housing.
“Every city in the west has an affordability crisis, but in Seattle, we are leading the way on the west coast in addressing that affordability crisis,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray at the announcement to media on the empty, paved lots where Capitol Hill Station’s developments will eventually rise.
The Site-B North parcel will eventually be home to Capitol Hill Housing’s 110-unit, “permanently affordable” development. CHH is lined up to receive $8.7 million of the grants announced Thursday and has requested an additional $4 million from King County’s transit oriented development fund.
Velma Figueroa, a resident of the Downtown Emergency Service Center’s Aurora House, which was built and funded by the city in 2010, shared her story, providing just one face and voice for those whose lives have been changed by affordable housing.
In the late 1990s, Figueroa moved with her family to Seattle from New York City and they purchased a home. During the 26 years she was married, she was a victim of domestic violence.
“One day I decided to leave. I ended up on the street with my son,” Figueroa said.
She found the DESC shelter, and a case manager helped her find housing. In 2013 she moved into the Aurora House.
“After living on the streets for so long, Aurora has given me new life,” Figueroa said.
The 2016 funding awards will support the construction of six new buildings — with 472 apartments — and the preservation of three buildings with 138 apartments across Seattle.
The economic divide has forced many people to move out of the city or into homelessness, said Chris Persons, CEO of Capitol Hill Housing, a partner in the Capitol Hill Station project. Stable housing gives people a chance to move forward.
“Everyone deserves stable housing,” Persons said. “Everyone deserves a stake in our common prosperity. Everyone deserves a chance to reach their success. This new housing makes that chance a reality.”
The Capitol Hill Station development is “critical” Persons said to keep the neighborhood economically diverse.
Not only will there be affordable housing at The Capitol Hill Station development, but because the project will be located near public transportation, parks and groceries stores, the need for a car is decreased, easing that financial burden, Murray said.
Along with the 110 units at the Capitol Hill Station development, the $47 million will also go toward the following projects:
- Community House’s new building in the Central District with 53 units for people with mental illness transitioning out of homelessness
- DESC’s 98-unit building to severe chronic homeless people
- The Low Income Housing Institute’s coming redevelopment of fire station 39 units for low-wage families
- LIHI’s 70-unit building in Little Saigon for low-wage workers
- Solid Ground’s Sand Point project serving homeless families
- Plymouth Housing Group’s downtown project that serves the workforce
- El Centro de la Raza for its Beacon Hill El Patio apartments
This funding is the last round from the 2009 levy.