Mayor Murray, Paul G. Allen announce partnership to provide $35 million to support homeless families

Today, Mayor Ed Murray and philanthropist Paul G. Allen announced a partnership to address the region’s homelessness crisis through an innovative, permanent supportive housing and onsite services community that will serve as a resource hub for Seattle-area families with children who are experiencing homelessness. Under the partnership, Mr. Allen will provide $30 million in capital toward the development, with the City of Seattle committing $5 million in capital and additional funds to support operation and maintenance of the center.

“Paul Allen understands the homelessness crisis requires everyone in our community, particularly our business leaders, to help,” said Mayor Murray. “This partnership with the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation will build permanent supportive housing for vulnerable homeless families with children and help the City leverage our affordable housing funds 6-to-1. This commitment is an example of the incredible difference our philanthropic and business leaders can make in our community, as I called on others to do during my State of the City speech this year. Thank you to Paul Allen, his family, and the foundation for making this incredibly generous investment to address this crisis.”

“We should all be alarmed by the growing crisis of homelessness in our community, especially its impact on families,” said Bill Hilf, CEO of Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. “Addressing this crisis requires the commitment and creativity of business, government, and the human services community. We approached the City of Seattle some months ago to get this project going because we wanted to make a significant impact toward disrupting the cycle of homelessness, and to give homeless families an opportunity to thrive.”

Mercy Housing Northwest, one of the nation’s largest non-profit developers of affordable housing operating 48 properties in Washington state, will develop, own, and operate the multi-family complex. It is anticipated that other nonprofit providers will partner to provide services for children and families in the community.

“This remarkable partnership between Paul Allen and the City of Seattle will make lasting opportunities for families most in need,” said Bill Rumpf, President of Mercy Housing Northwest. “We are grateful for the opportunity to create affordable apartments and a family service center where parents and children can get out of homelessness, regain resilience and dignity, and pursue economic mobility.”

There are currently 1,684 families awaiting housing in King County and more than 3,498 homeless students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools who experienced homelessness during the 2015-2016 school year. According to the Homeless Needs Assessment, 43 percent of homeless adults experienced homelessness before the age of 25. Through a mix of housing and onsite services, this project aims to assist families experiencing homelessness, helping them transition to stable housing and break the cycle of homelessness. This development aligns with the guidelines identified in Mayor Murray’s Pathways Home plan and aims to address needs often cited by homelessness service provides, advocates, and people experiencing homelessness.

Additional details about the design, location, and target opening date for the community will be released in the coming months.

More: Read the letter of intent between partners

About Paul Allen
Paul G. Allen is a Microsoft cofounder, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who explores the frontiers of technology and human knowledge, and works to change the future. Through the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and his organization Vulcan Inc., Mr. Allen is working to save endangered species, improve ocean health, tackle contagious diseases, research the human brain, and build sustainable communities. All told, Mr. Allen’s philanthropic contributions exceed $2 billion. As a member of the Giving Pledge, he remains committed to giving away the majority of his fortune. For more information, please visit

About Mercy Housing Northwest
Mercy Housing Northwest creates stable, vibrant and healthy communities for Washington state residents. They build homes, transform lives and help individuals, families and seniors thrive by providing permanent housing with supportive services. Mercy Housing Northwest was formed 25 years ago by five women’s religious communities: the Tacoma Dominicans, the Adrian (Edmonds) Dominicans, the Sisters of Providence, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace and the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. MHNW is the northwest arm of Mercy Housing, one of the largest affordable rental housing providers in the US. Mercy Housing owns 48 affordable housing properties in Washington, serving approximately 5,000 people each year. For more information, please visit

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Mayor Murray issues statement on passing of Helen Sommers

Today, Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement regarding the passing of former State Representative Helen Sommers:

“I’m deeply saddened by the passing of former State Representative Helen Sommers, whom I was privileged to call a friend. For nearly four decades, she represented Seattle’s 36th District with great distinction and purpose as one of the great legislative leaders of her time. She was a mentor to me as a new budget chair. She brought seriousness and a deep understanding of policy to her work on behalf of our community.

“When first elected in the early ‘70s, she was one of only 12 women in the House, but by the time she retired in 2009, our state had one of the highest percentages of female legislators in the country. That wasn’t by accident. As a ‘born feminist’ who took leadership roles in the League of Women Voters and King County Chapter of the National Organization of Women, Helen helped inspire and ensure that progress. She was tough but principled, working to reform the state’s pension system and taking on entrenched interests. She was the first to admit to being outspoken, blunt and impatient – because that’s who she was and what was needed to get things done for her constituents. She fought sexism and an old boys club, persevering to become an influential head of the Appropriations Committee and a champion for Seattle Public Schools, community colleges and the University of Washington.

“Helen inspired a generation of leaders, myself included. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.”

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Mayor Murray issues statement on Alan Sugiyama

Today, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement concerning the passing of Alan Sugiyama:

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Seattle community advocate and civil rights legend Alan Sugiyama.  Alan will be remembered as a natural organizer and gifted storyteller, which allowed him to unite people on the pathway to change. Alan’s commitment to social justice began when he was young and living in Seattle’s Central District, where he served as a leader in the Asian youth movement during the 1960s and 1970s.  He co-founded Seattle Central Community College’s (now Seattle Central College) Oriental Student Union and later served as a leader of the Asian Student Coalition at the University of Washington.

“From co-founding the Asian Family Affair newspaper, to establishing the Center for Career Alternatives job-training and placement agency for the API community, and later heading the Asian Pacific Directors Coalition and Executive Development Institute, the lives touched by Alan’s work and advocacy are countless.

“As the first Asian American elected to the Seattle School Board, Alan championed increased diversity and bilingual education. He will be remembered as an advocate for social justice, equity, and civil rights. The Seattle community owes a great debt of gratitude for his years of service.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Alan’s daughters Mari and Alyssa and his friends and family.”

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Mayor Murray issues statement on the passing of Seattle Rep’s artist director, Jerry Manning

Mayor Murray today issued the following statement on the passing of Seattle Repertory Theatre’s artistic director, Jerry Manning (1955-2014):

“We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Jerry Manning, artistic director of the Seattle Repertory Theatre. Under Jerry’s leadership, the Rep was awarded a 2013 Mayor’s Arts Award. Truly beloved by the greater Seattle theatre community, he was a true champion of the local arts community, hiring local talent and establishing programs to help foster new work. During his tenure as artistic director, the Seattle Rep commissioned 13 new works, nine by Seattle writers, and world premiered four plays with three more scheduled for next season.

Jerry was set apart by his refreshing candor and his deep admiration for his colleagues in the field. He was a mentor for many, giving a number of directors, actors and writers their first major opportunities. He will be greatly missed.”