Mike McGinn, Mayor
5/24/2011 11:30:00 AM
Todd Burley (206) 684-5081
HUD recognizes city of Seattle, nonprofits for excellence in providing affordable housing
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has recognized the city of Seattle’s efforts in producing affordable housing as part of the 20th Anniversary of the federal HOME Program. HOME is the largest federal block grant program dedicated to producing affordable housing at the state and local level.
HUD presented the Seattle Office of Housing and Capitol Hill Housing (CHH) with a Door Knocker Award in the category of Producing Sustainable Housing for CHH's Broadway Crossing Apartments, which was funded in part with HOME dollars. Seattle received one of only 14 Door Knocker Awards given nationwide.
"I congratulate the Office of Housing staff and Capitol Hill Housing for this national recognition," said Mayor Mike McGinn. "Broadway Crossing is an excellent example of dense, transit-oriented housing that is considerate of the environment while offering lower-income households the opportunity to live close to jobs and services."
Broadway Crossing, at the corner of Broadway and Pine Street in Capitol Hill, is one of the greenest residential developments in Seattle, earning a LEED Silver rating when it opened in 2007. Half of its 44 units are reserved for very low-income households, including nine for formerly homeless families transitioning through the Sound Families Initiative of the Gates Foundation. The other 22 units serve households earning up to 60 percent of area median income, which is about $36,000 for an individual or $46,000 for a family of three.
The HOME Program was created in 1992, and has since helped to produce more than one million units of affordable housing in the United States. The city of Seattle has used HOME funds for a variety of eligible uses that support low- and moderate-income residents.
"For 20 years HOME has been an essential funding component of many affordable housing efforts in Seattle," said Rick Hooper, director of the Office of Housing. "This valuable program helps us leverage additional public and private dollars to create much needed housing that is within the reach of our low- and moderate-income neighbors."
Over the life of the program, Seattle has committed and disbursed over $65 million in HOME funds to eligible projects, including 64 multifamily rental projects representing 2,357 completed units, with another 132 units currently under construction. These apartments provide a safe, decent and affordable home to extremely low-income households including seniors, people with disabilities and formerly homeless families and individuals.
Additionally, the city has used HOME funds to assist 364 first-time homebuyers with downpayment assistance, as well as provide homebuyer counseling and education.
Before commitment of HOME and all other funds, Office of Housing staff complete a rigorous review of project proposals that covers sponsor capacity and project feasibility. In the majority of cases, no funds are disbursed until the project is fully permitted and ready to proceed with construction.
"When you look for innovative and cost-effective approaches to producing and preserving affordable housing, there's no better place to start than in Northwest communities," said HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Mary McBride. "Organizations all across the region like the City of Seattle and Capitol Hill Housing are leading the charge to a smart, sustainable future."
Broadway Crossing is a great example of pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented, affordable housing amidst mostly market-rate housing and extensive commercial and retail businesses. One of the most unique aspects of the project was the coordination between the community, CHH and Walgreen's to transform the plans for a standard one-story drug store with surface parking to a taller building with affordable housing and underground parking for this prominent corner.
Two other city-funded apartment projects received an honorable mention from HUD. The Low Income Housing Institute's McDermott Place, which has 75 studios for chronically homeless individuals including veterans, was recognized in the category of Reaching Underserved Populations. Housing Resources Group's 70-unit Stone Way Apartments, Seattle's first LEED Silver affordable housing development for families, was also recognized in the Producing Sustainable Housing category.
The mission of the Seattle Office of Housing is to build strong healthy communities and increase opportunities for people of all income levels to live in our city.