Seattle Celebrates Affordable Housing Week

The City of Seattle announced several events Monday as part of the 2017 Affordable Housing Week celebration across King County. The events, from online engagements to open houses, are in partnership with the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County (HDC) and many of the affordable housing partners throughout the city.

“At a time when housing affordability is at the center of many conversations, we want to invite the residents of Seattle to learn about our programs and policies, and see first-hand what affordable housing is,” stated Steve Walker, director of the Seattle Office of Housing.

Seattle has a long history of creating affordable housing, starting with a housing bond in 1981 and five successive housing levies. The current housing levy, which was double the last levy, passed with over 70% of the vote last August, and will provide $290 million over the next seven years for affordable housing. To date, the City has funded over 13,000 affordable homes throughout the city, helped 900 families purchase their first home, and provided emergency rental assistance to 6,500 households.

In addition to the Housing Levy, Seattle has already implemented many of the other 65 recommendations from the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), including the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program. This program ensures that all multifamily and commercial development in Seattle will contribute to affordable housing, creating 6,000 homes for low-income households in the next decade. The City also expanded the Multifamily Tax Exemption and passed new tenant protections. In all, HALA programs and initiatives will create 20,000 newly affordable homes in Seattle over the next 10 years.

To begin the City of Seattle’s celebration of Affordable Housing Week, the City Council presented a proclamation from Mayor Murray on Monday. In the following days, various affordable housing organizations will open their doors at specific buildings – from senior housing and homes for low-wage workers and families to permanent supportive housing for our homeless neighbors. The public is invited to meet the staff, learn about their housing and programs, and speak to City Councilmembers about affordable housing.

Office of Housing director, Steve Walker, and staff will be available to answer questions about the City’s affordable housing programs and resources at a Facebook Live event on Wednesday at noon and a Reddit Ask Me Anything on Friday at noon.

Other events will be hosted throughout Seattle and King County, and are available on the HDC website: http://www.housingconsortium.org/affordable-housing-week/

 A full list of events sponsored by the City of Seattle are described below:

 Monday, May 15

  • Affordable Housing Week Proclamation: Mayor Murray and the Seattle City Council will mark May 15-19, 2017 as Affordable Housing Week during a proclamation at the 2:00 p.m. City Council meeting.
  • Cheryl Chow Court Open House: Join the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. in Ballard to talk to staff and get a tour of this affordable building for people who have experienced homelessness, including seeing the Urban Rest Stop. Councilmember Mike O’Brien will be on site to answer your questions.

 Tuesday, May 16

  • Haines Apartments Open House: Join Capitol Hill Housing for an open house at the Haines Apartments, a building for low-income seniors that was preserved through funding from the Housing Levy. The event will take place from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m., and Councilmember Sawant will be on hand to discuss affordable housing from 12:30 – 1:15 p.m.

 Wednesday, May 17

  • Williams Apartments Open House: Join Plymouth Housing Group staff and Councilmember Sally Bagshaw from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. for an open house at this South Lake Union building that provides permanent supportive housing for people who were once homeless.
  • Facebook Live with OH Director: Get engaged online and ask Office of Housing Director Steve Walker your questions about affordable housing and the various programs the City offers. Like the OH Facebook Page and tune in at 12:00 p.m. for this live event.
  • Mercy Othello Plaza Open House: Join Mercy Housing Northwest at their new affordable housing building at the Othello Light Rail Station from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Get a look inside, meet the staff, and learn about the importance of transit-oriented development for low-income households.

 Thursday, May 18

  • Stone Way Apartments Tour: Join Bellwether Housing for a tour of this affordable housing project in Wallingford from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Meet the staff and learn all about the benefits of this housing. Councilmember Rob Johnson will be on site to answer your questions.

 Friday, May 19

  • Reddit AMA on Affordable Housing: Are you a Reddit user? Join Office of Housing staff for an Ask Me Anything conversation from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Search for “We are the Seattle Office of Housing, we manage affordable housing programs, policies, and funding. Let’s talk!”

 The Seattle Office of Housing creates an equitable and affordable community through affordable housing programs, policies, and investments. More information is available at www.seattle.gov/housing.

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