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Mayor Durkan Announces Seattle Will Invest in 91 New Affordable Homes and art space on City-Owned Property in Uptown Adjacent to Seattle Center

Investment Will Support 91 New Permanent Homes for Our Neighbors Experiencing Homelessness, A Community Art Space, and A Community Workforce Agreement Pilot 

Seattle (November 20, 2018) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan was joined today by Uptown community members, housing advocates, labor leaders, and arts and cultural district representatives as she announced the City of Seattle will invest approximately $6.9 million to build 91 new affordable homes for people experiencing long-term homelessness at a City-owned site adjacent to Seattle Center.  

The building will be developed by Plymouth Housing following the permanent supportive housing model and providing 91 affordable apartments for men and women experiencing long-term homelessness. All residents will have a housing case manager to help provide tailored on-site services that may include nursing and medical care, connections to behavioral health treatment, hospice care, veterans counseling, and money management.   

In 2018, the City of Seattle has invested approximately $90 million in affordable housing. By 2021, the City expects to have more than 2,500 new affordable homes.  

“As we address our region’s homelessness crisis, we must build more affordable housing as quickly as we can and help our neighbors experiencing homelessness access the services they need and move into safer places. Seattle will continue to invest in affordable housing to ensure those experiencing homelessness have permanent, safe, stable places to live. We will also continue working with our partners in the region and state to ensure we have a truly regional response to this regional challenge,” said Mayor Durkan. “At this moment, the Seattle Center is transforming. The City is creating an arts and cultural space that compliments Uptown and the Seattle Center as an economic, arts, and cultural engine for decades to come.”  

The building will pilot a Community Workforce Agreement, which help provide true economic opportunity into underserved communities by working with labor unions, local governments can establish hiring standards to bring people from low-income areas, people of color, and women – populations that are historically underrepresented in the building trades – into the construction industry, providing access to apprenticeships, high-wage jobs, and benefits.   

The building will also include a ground floor arts and cultural space. Path with Art will manage the ground floor area of the building as an arts space available to residents and Path with Art students, as well as a community arts resource for other community-based arts organizations. Path with Art uses creative engagement to bring dignity, awareness, and healing to the complexities of the issues surrounding homelessness and recovery from trauma. The City’s Office of Housing and the Office of Arts and Culture worked with the Uptown Arts and Culture Coalition and the Uptown Community Alliance to engage community members and stakeholders on creating a building that would both maximize affordable housing outcomes and create opportunities for arts and cultural uses. This project is the first time the City has made a joint housing and arts investment as part of the same funding award.  

“Plymouth Housing’s mission is to provide the most vulnerable people in our community with permanent homes and the support they need to attain stability in their lives. We’re grateful to the Seattle Office of Housing for this opportunity to provide permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness,” said Paul Lambros, Executive Director of Plymouth Housing. “This site will provide two highly needed public benefits: housing and arts access. We look forward to working with our partners, Path With Art, as well as the Uptown Alliance and the Uptown Arts & Culture Coalition to construct a welcoming building that contributes to this vibrant neighborhood.”  

“When we build affordable housing with active ground floor space, we enhance the opportunity and wellbeing of both residents and neighborhoods,” according to Steve Walker, the Director of the Seattle Office of Housing. “The Office of Housing collaborated with our partners at the City Office of Arts and Culture and in the Uptown neighborhood to achieve arts and cultural goals prioritized by the community at a site where we are making a housing investment.”   

”The Uptown Arts and Culture Coalition was delighted to be a part of the evolution of this project aligned with and advancing the Uptown neighborhood arts and cultural priorities,” said Cyrus Despres, Director of Planning and Business Intelligence at KEXP and the President of the Uptown Arts and Cultural District. “We are growing an Uptown creative space for existing arts organizations and helping our neighbors in need at the same time.”  

The Office of Housing also worked in close partnership with the Labor Equity Team at the Department of Finance and Administrative Services and the Seattle Building Trades to pilot a Community Workforce Agreement at the site.  

“This pilot sustains Seattle’s track record of ensuring strong labor equity outcomes through labor agreements,” said Monty Anderson, Executive Secretary of the Seattle Building Trades. “The Community Workforce Agreement is the main tool to implement the City’s Priority Hire Ordinance, aimed at prioritizing local workers living in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods and supporting women and people of color to take part in apprenticeships and become part of the trained construction workforce.”