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City of Seattle
Gregory J. Nickels (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: Mayor announces $8 million for senior and workforce housing

7/22/2009  2:30:00 PM

Mayor announces $8 million for senior and workforce housing
Projects supported by Seattle Housing Levy, federal stimulus dollars

Mayor announces funding for senior and affordable housing, July 22, 2009SEATTLE - Mayor Greg Nickels today announced $8.1 million in funding awards to rehabilitate and preserve nearly 200 units of housing for low-income seniors and to build 70 units of housing affordable to working individuals and families. The projects are funded by the Seattle Housing Levy and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"With this funding, we're continuing Seattle's long commitment of ensuring seniors living on fixed incomes can stay in their homes," Nickels said. "These housing projects not only help our vulnerable neighbors but also create well-paying jobs throughout our community."

The funds will help rehabilitate three separate apartment buildings for seniors with annual incomes of less than about $18,000 a year. It will also help with construction of a new apartment building in the Rainier Valley for individuals making about $35,000 a year and families of three earning about $45,000 a year.

Nickels made today's announcement at Meridian Manor, a 109-unit low-income senior apartment building in the Northgate neighborhood. When the owner of Meridian Manor put it up for sale last year, several investors made competing offers with the intention of converting the building to market-rate use, which would have forced out the current tenants. Housing Resources Group stepped up and purchased the building in October, with the help of a Housing Levy-funded bridge loan from the Office of Housing.

The city awarded Housing Resources Group an additional $3 million in Housing Levy dollars to complete the purchase and fund much needed renovations. Now, Meridian Manor will remain affordable to seniors on fixed incomes for at least 50 years. "We couldn't have made this project work without the city's support," said Sarah Lewontin, Housing Resources Group executive director. "Not only are we able to keep these seniors in their homes, but the necessary rehabilitation of the building has already put people to work."

The construction trades have been hard hit in the recession. With the help of Housing Levy and federal stimulus dollars, shovel-ready affordable housing construction projects are continuing to break ground this year, stimulating the local construction industry and putting local residents back to work.

Two other low-income senior apartment buildings - Reunion House, a 28-unit building on Capitol Hill; and Willis House, a 42-unit building in the Greenlake area - received $850,000 in federal stimulus dollars to complete much-needed repairs. Both buildings are owned and operated by the Seattle Housing Authority, and were built with funds from the 1981 senior housing bond.

Nickels also announced an award of $4.26 million to Housing Resources Group for the construction of the Rose Street Apartments, to be located at South Rose Street and Rainier Avenue South. This new apartment building will have 70 units of affordable housing over commercial space.

The Office of Housing awards multifamily funds twice yearly - in the spring and the fall - to support the development of affordable housing. The long-term, low-interest loans are highly competitive, with applications carefully reviewed for financial feasibility, affordability, organizational capacity and how they meet the city's priorities. The affordability of the housing is regulated by the Office of Housing for a minimum of 50 years.

To track the city of Seattle's progress as it seeks federal stimulus funds, visit This site provides information about the projects for which Seattle is seeking funding, and, if funding is granted, how the money is being spent. Seattle is seeking stimulus funding for projects in the following categories: community development, economic development, energy, environment, public safety, social services and transportation.

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