SEATTLE — Mayor Jenny Durkan announced on Sept. 20 the first round of joint state and local investments of $50 million to rapidly create new income- and rent-restricted housing in Seattle. The 165 new homes across three new buildings will be ready for tenants this fall and will serve individuals and young adults experiencing homelessness or at extreme risk of homelessness. Seattle’s local investment of $25 million is matched by funding from the Washington State Department of Commerce’s new Rapid Capital Housing Acquisition program.
In June 2021, the City Council passed and Durkan signed a joint proposal that included $28.5 million from the American Rescue Plan for the acquisition of housing. This is the first round of acquisitions, with more announcements expected in the coming weeks to leverage the $28.5 million in the Seattle Rescue Plan. The first round of awards announced for the City’s Rapid Acquisition funds will be used to acquire and convert to affordable housing three newly constructed buildings located in Capitol Hill. Two of the buildings acquired will be owned and operated by the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI). The third property will be owned by LIHI and operated by YouthCare.
LIHI Director Sharon Lee said, “The purchase of three new buildings with 165 units on Capitol Hill will provide permanent supportive housing for 180 homeless people, including singles and couples. Thankfully, the State Legislature and the City of Seattle recognized the unique opportunity presented by the downturn in the real estate market to buy market rate apartments to house our homeless neighbors. LIHI will be offering affordable studio apartments to people transitioning out of tiny houses and emergency shelters. Each building will include live-in staff and on-site case managers to provide supportive services.”
To facilitate future building acquisitions and continue responding to the need for permanent affordable housing in Seattle, the Office of Housing will continue to accept applications for funding on a rolling basis. Durkan has announced 1,300 new units of affordable housing, expected to open beginning this fall, which includes units created through an innovative pilot program announced last year.