‘Seattle Rainbow Housing’ — Study shows affordability crisis hits LGBTQ seniors even harder

Capitol Hill Housing is planning LGBTQ and senior affordable housing at 14th and Union

A report commissioned by the city’s Office of Housing found that there are several key challenges facing seniors in Seattle’s LGBTQ community, including inadequate services, lack of stable affordable housing, and high rates of discrimination and bias in housing.

“We wanted to understand the LGBTQ senior housing and service needs in the local area, especially given how the cost of housing is increasing,” Karen Fredrisken Goldsen, a professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington, said. “Certainly there are concerns regarding the lack of housing affordability and accessibility in Seattle, King County.”

The report, led by Fredrisken Goldsen, found that Seattle “is falling behind other major metropolitan areas in addressing LGBTQ housing and senior needs.” Meanwhile, cities like San Francisco, California have invested millions of dollars to address the needs of LGBTQ older adults.

“With LGBT older adults, if they lose housing, it’s often difficult for them to secure new housing,” Fredrisken Goldsen said. Continue reading

Historic Gaffney House set to hit the market, again, at 17th and Madison leaving vulnerable residents in need of new homes

After a previous real estate effort was put on hold, families with loved ones at 17th and Madison’s Gaffney House know this time it is different. Families are beginning the process of searching for new homes for their grandparents, parents, brothers, and sisters after being informed the small-scale assisted living facility for residents living with dementia is being closed as part of a plan to sell off the valuable property.

“My dad is there. I’m a wreck,” one family member who contacted CHS about the notice said. “This place is a savior for a dozen and a half people.”

Dave Budd, executive director of Full Life Care which has operated the facility since it opened in 2004, confirmed the notices have been given to residents and family members as part of legal requirements as the nonprofit prepares to close down the facility and its parent Transforming Age readies the property to again hit the real estate market. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Housing project at 14th and Union will create affordable LGBTQ-focused senior housing

True affordability means keeping rents in the city down for everybody. An effort to help Capitol Hill Housing shape “Seattle’s first LGBTQ-affirming affordable senior housing development” at 14th and Union will take another step forward next week with a Community Visioning Workshop:

LGBTQ-Affirming Affordable Senior Housing: Community Visioning Workshop

“We’ve heard consistently from the community about the need for a place where LGBTQ elders in the community could age,” said Ashwin Warrior, Capitol Hill Housing spokesperson. “LGBTQ seniors were also named a priority population for the 2016 Housing Levy which adds extra impetus to the efforts.” Continue reading

Seattle looks at city retirement savings program for workers

Not a retirement savings plan (Image: CHS)

Fresh from being sworn into office, Mayor Tim Burgess unveiled his 2018 budget for the city, including a proposal to establish retirement savings accounts for an estimated 200,000 Seattle workers whose employers don’t provide such benefits. Some Capitol Hill business leaders are lining up to support the plan, arguing that freelancers and the nightlife industry stand to benefit.

Tuesday, the Burgess legislation was sent to the City Council to begin deliberations. “In Seattle, 200,000 workers have no retirement savings plan,” Burgess said. “That’s a recipe for long-term financial instability for those individual workers, their families, and our local economy. We know that people are far more likely to save for retirement if they have an option easily available. That’s exactly what my plan provides.”

The idea, which has been a Burgess pet project, boils down to this: The city would contract a third party administrator to process the payroll of workers within city limits whose employer doesn’t offer any savings program and deduct a small percentage of their pay to personal retirement savings accounts. The amount deducted can be determined by the employee, but the default option is between three and five percent. (Workers could also choose to opt-out of the program at any point.) This account would be portable, and would remain with the employee even if they changed jobs, a boon to freelancers and service industry employees who frequently change jobs. Continue reading

Two assisted living developments — 24 stories on First Hill, 6 in Eastlake — face design review

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-7-12-47-pmTwo new assisted living projects planned for Capitol Hill’s neighboring neighborhoods will go in front of the design review board Wednesday night.

Both are part of a development trend addressing the market demand for more senior housing in Seattle. CHS previously wrote about how senior citizens, many of whom have lived in the area for a long time, are choosing to stay around Capitol Hill and Central Seattle, either in their homes, or in some of the new and established facilities which cater to older folks. The U.S. Census estimates that 21% of residents in the 98112 ZIP code are 60 or older.

Last spring, CHS wrote about one of the projects — a new neighbor planned for the Frye Art Museum weighing it at 23 stories on Terry Ave and developed by Columbia Pacific Advisors on property owned by the Archdiocese of Seattle. The other is a development just underway in Eastlake from Aegis Living. The company opened a seven-story, 104-unit facility complete with a “Memory Care Deck” designed to help residents feel at home with a “façade of an old-fashioned neighborhood” at 22nd and E Madison in 2014.

Design review: 1920 Eastlake Ave E

Design review: 620 Terry Ave


‘Alotta Sh*t Has Happened’ — Gay City brings voices of ‘LGBTQ Elders’ to the stage

Capitol Hill’s Gay City is bringing the voices of LGBTQ artists over 40 to the stage to share their experiences in a performance called Alotta Sh*t Has Happened: LGBTQ Elders Speak.

It’s a free show that has grabbed many people’s attention. Friday and Saturday are already packed. Sunday’s matinee and evening show still have seats. Snag your ticket quickly, young one, and settle in to hear some stories.

“I know friends of mine in their 40s, 50s and 60s are really thirsty for other LGBTQ people to talk to,” Tara Hardy, Gay City arts director said.

But it’s not just that demographic that is interested. Hardy said she knows people in their teens, 20s and 30s who are interested in hearing what the older generations have to say.  When she first became arts director about a year ago, Hardy, who has a background in the arts and social justice, asked herself, “Who are the populations who have not been historically served at Gay City?” Hardy, 52, said she had no idea there would be such huge response to a show about the topic. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Seniors’ Senior Prom on First Hill

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

NatalieStrauss(stripes)andLauraRousso(flowers)discussTexasHoldemStrategyCHS has reported before on the value of diverse neighbors and the importance of people finding a way to stay part of Central Seattle as they age. Last weekend, some of First Hill’s senior members got together for a party and CHS was invited to stop by to see the fun — and hear a good joke or three.

Sunday’s second annual Seniors’ Senior Prom at The Summit at First Hill retirement community had a casino night theme. Like any good prom, it had some fancy outfits and people having fun looking their best. Like any good casino, there was also a comedienne.

Rose Liberman was at the prom and enjoying herself. The great grandmother and Holocaust survivor was born in Poland, spent time in the ghettos, and spent more than two years in a concentration camp. Rose was accompanied by her grandkids Neil and Sarah while kids from Capitol Hill’s Temple De Hirsch Sinai were also on hand to help out on the night. “Kids keep me young,” Liberman said, just warming up. Her advice on life? “Life is hard.”

She had a few more gems: Continue reading

Another new neighbor for the Frye: 23-story senior housing tower announced for First Hill

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 3.12.55 PMIt’s another apartment tower on deck for First Hill, this one aimed at senior housing.

Seattle’s Columbia Pacific Advisors announced last week it has entered a deal to build a 23-story senior housing tower at Terry and James on property owned by the Archdiocese of Seattle.

The tower at 620 Terry Ave, located across Cherry St. from the Frye Art Museum, would be comprised of independent living apartments, assisted living units, and memory care suites. The design from Ankrom Moisan Architects call for 1,800 square feet of retail and 188 parking stalls.

The project would require the demolition of a single family home, office building, and surface parking lot — all owned by the Archdiocese, which will to retain ownership of the property.

“The ground lease will provide important long-term funding for Archdiocesan programs and for the Cathedral’s many social outreach ministries, while preserving church ownership of the property,” said Archdiocese spokesperson Greg Magnoni in a statement. Continue reading

On Capitol Hill corner ripe for development, cash-strapped assisted living home will close


(Image: Travis Peterson, courtesy of Ewing and Clark)

A dementia care home on Capitol Hill is preparing to close after the facility’s nonprofit owner announced Wednesday it was selling the 17th and E Madison property likely to be coveted by developers despite its possible landmark status.

Since it was opened by Full Life Care in 2004, the Gaffney House has served hundreds of Alzheimer and dementia clients in a rare, small-scale assisted living setting. Full Life executive director Nora Gibson told CHS the organization was forced to put the 1605 17th Ave house up for sale when it lost its loan on the property. Continue reading

‘Aging in place’ on Capitol Hill

Artist's depiction of the housing planned around Capitol Hill Station

Artist’s depiction of the housing planned around Capitol Hill Station

Believe it or not, there are people on Capitol Hill whose silver locks aren’t the result of a granny-hair trend. The U.S. Census estimates that 21% of residents in the 98112 ZIP code are 60 or older. These senior citizens, many of whom have lived in the area for a long time, are choosing to stay on the Hill, either in their homes, or in some of the new and established facilities which cater to older folks. Meanwhile, more are choosing to stay or come here as the transportation investments that are part and parcel with dense, urban environments are also the kinds of mobility features that appeal to seniors.

More senior housing may be on the horizon next to the Broadway light rail station, said Brie Gyncild, co-chair of Capitol Hill Champion, a group focusing on the developments around the transit facility.

“We’ve frequently heard the need for family housing on the Hill, but not quite as much about senior housing until recently,” she said.

Gyncild said the group has had discussions with site developer Gerding Edlen about including a plan for senior housing in the transit oriented development planned for the land around Capitol Hill Station.

Going forward, Gerding Edlen is planning meetings with different interest groups, and one of them will likely be with senior citizens, Gyncild said. “That conversation is likely to be more about the particular needs and concerns of seniors regarding the design of the plaza and other public spaces, building access, etc.,” she said.

But there are other new options and alternatives for an aging population. Wider Horizons Village, formed last summer and tries to work with seniors who wish to age in place.

“We help older people age well at home with social activities and services,” said Denise Klein, executive director of the nonprofit. Membership costs $600 per year, and the group has 76 members so far. Most members, Klein said, aren’t empty-nesters moving in from the suburbs, but people who have been here for a long time, and still live in the big houses on Capitol Hill, or in Montlake, Madrona or Leschi. Continue reading