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Building community and creating affordable housing opportunities Steve Walker, Acting Director

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The City of Seattle was awarded a $3 million HUD Community Challenge Grant in November 2011 to work on priorities identified in the Rainier Valley and Beacon Hill neighborhood plans. Grant funds are being matched by $5.9 million in public and private funds and in-kind contributions.

Major Goals

  • Work on some of the top priorities identified in the SE Seattle neighborhood plans.
  • Ensure that new development benefits rather than displaces the existing diverse communities.
  • Plan for and create essential amenities for communities vulnerable to the displacement pressures of increasing land values: affordable housing, commercial, and community space.
  • Empower the community, including low-income residents and communities of color, to be active decision makers in all major activities.
  • Employ new and creative tools to ensure equitable development.  If successful, these tools can be used in other neighborhood business districts and light rail station areas.

Major Activities

  • Transit-Oriented Development Acquisition Loans – Improve the vitality of community by helping housing developers purchase 3-4 vacant properties near light rail stations for mixed-use projects that include affordable and market rate housing and commercial space to accommodate small businesses and community facilities.  Developments will provide approximately 200 units of affordable housing.  Specific sites have not yet been identified and the program will likely begin making loans by 2013.

  • Commercial Stability Strategy – Help stabilize commercial businesses of the multicultural business district around the Othello Station by providing an variety of technical assistance  such as product marketing, lease education, or bookkeeping.  Building owners could also receive technical assistance to create affordable commercial space. The goal is to serve 30 businesses each year.
  • Planning for a Shared Cultural Center – Strengthen the existing culturally and ethnically diverse community by planning for a privately run and financed multi-cultural center. A specific location has yet to be determined. Community meetings will occur throughout 2012, with the goal of engaging 200 participants from traditionally underrepresented communities. A planning process will address programming and finance issues and an organization will be identified to lead the development process.

Public Participation Plan
Department of Neighborhoods will contract with Public Outreach and Engagement Liaisons (POEL) and provide support to community-based organizations to engage communities in Southeast Seattle in each of the major activities. POEL outreach and support will begin in mid 2012.

Program Evaluation
The University of Washington will evaluate the major activities and provide annual performance reports as well as a report at the end of the grant term capturing lessons learned and recommendations for reproducing the activities in other areas.


  • POELs begin community outreach
  • Capacity-building support for community organizations begins
  • TOD Site Acquisition Program is designed
  • Business technical assistance consultants are hired and Othello businesses are served
  • First TOD loans are provided
  • Cultural center feasibility report in process
  • Othello businesses are served by program
  • Additional TOD loans are provided
  • Othello businesses are served by program
  • Program evaluation report released
  • Cultural center report released

Related Docs


Organizational Chart

Fact Sheet

Overview presentation to City Council

Key Contacts

Program Manager
Ryan Curren, Office of Housing
(206) 684-0362

TOD Acquisition Loans
Miriam Roskin, Office of Housing
(206) 684-0354

Cultural Center Planning
Nora Liu, Department of Planning & Development
(206) 233-7036

Commercial Stability Strategy
Andres Mantilla, Office of Economic Development
(206) 233-3868

Public Participation Plan
Sebhat Tenna, Department of Neighborhoods
(206) 733-9977

Performance Evaluation
Rachel Kleit, University of Washington
(206) 221-3063


Important Links

SE Neighborhood Plans

Seattle Comprehensive Plan

Vision 2040

Growing Transit Communities

HUD Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities





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