by Agueda Pacheco Flores
In February of this year, King County awarded nearly $25 million to eight affordable housing projects across the region, including in the South End.
The money, which comes from the Housing Finance Program, will develop nearly a thousand units of affordable housing across the county. Half of those units will be prioritized for people who have previously been unhoused, veterans, and persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“By building more homes, especially near transit, we can better provide equitable access to opportunities and create a more connected and inclusive community,” said Executive Dow Constantine in a press release.
Two of the awardees are in SeaTac and Burien, near transportation hubs.
In Burien, Habitat for Humanity Seattle – King County was awarded $2 million to continue their project to build 20 homes. Habitat II, located at 511 and 515 S 136th St., is part of a 40-unit complex that will surround a community center. Buyers would need to have lived in King County for more than a year and make less than 50% of the area median income. The homes will also be part of a land trust to ensure affordable housing for future generations.
The townhomes and cottages will range from three- to four-bedroom units. Habitat for Humanity would cover the remaining balance for the homebuyer that isn’t covered by their down payment, mortgage loan, or down-payment assistance.
Habitat for Humanity estimates their Burien development will be finished in 2025.
King County also awarded a project in SeaTac $950,000. Mercy Housing, a nonprofit affordable housing provider, has partnered with The Arc of King County, a nonprofit which works with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to steer the course for a complex that will develop 130 affordable homes. Twenty-six of those units will specifically be for people with disabilities and their families. The new complex will be located next to the Angle Lake light rail station.
Two other developments in South King County that were previously funded thanks to the Housing Finance Program are also making headway.
In Federal Way, in partnership with the Multi-Service Center (MSC) nonprofit, which works towards a future without poverty, $11 million was awarded to The Redondo Heights Community which broke ground on Feb 1. The development will see 334 affordable homes built and available to low-income renters. The apartment complex will sit next to a Park & Ride and will be close to the 272nd Link Light Rail station extension.
“The project reflects several years of planning and many partnerships from private funders, community organizations, and all levels of government,” said CEO of MSC Robin Cora. “Redondo Heights will help meet the growing need for affordable workforce housing while also providing improved access to resources.”
Redondo Heights also received funding from Amazon and the Washington State Department of Commerce Housing Finance Unit.
In January, a project that received a total of $3.4 million broke ground. North Lot is located on the Pacific Hospital campus in Beacon Hill and is set to construct 160 units of affordable housing. That development will address a growing need for affordable housing in the Beacon Hill and International District area, where gentrification threatens displacement of longtime residents. The affordable homes are managed by the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda).
“We’re grateful to break ground on a project that will provide housing and services for generations to come,” said Jamie Lee, the co-executive director of SCIDpda.
King County’s Housing Finance Program works and partners with nonprofit housing developers, for-profit developers, local governments, and public housing authorities to make more affordable housing. The program prioritizes funding developments that will put at least 25% of their units aside for unhoused people. Housing for the homeless through this program attempts to transition people experiencing homelessness into homes as quickly as possible. The Housing Finance Program also funds developments that are put near transportation hubs and provide services alongside affordable homes.
Agueda Pacheco Flores is a journalist focusing on Latinx culture and Mexican American identity. Originally from Querétaro, Mexico, Pacheco Flores is inspired by her own bicultural upbringing as an undocumented immigrant and proud Washingtonian.
📸 Featured Image: A board displays a sketch of what the North Lot development will look like once complete. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
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