Mayor Durkan and Office of Housing Announce Nearly $100 Million in New Affordable Housing Investments
December 9, 2021 | Press Release
SEATTLE (December 9, 2021) — In her final housing investment announcement as Mayor, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and the Office of Housing announced nearly $100 million in affordable housing investments for 2021, marking a single year record of $143 million in affordable housing in 2021. The latest investment of $95 million will support the construction of 692 new affordable rental homes, the reinvestment in and rehabilitation of 364 existing affordable rental homes, and the rapid acquisition of a newly-constructed building that will provide 63 new affordable rental homes.
"Before, during and after the pandemic, our housing and homelessness crisis has and will continue to be a defining challenge for Seattle, which has been the fastest growing city in America. Over 35 years, we created 13,000 affordable homes through the Housing Levy, yet in last 4 years, we put an unprecedented level of investments in housing to create and preserve 7,600 affordable homes," said Mayor Durkan. "Using new innovative methods for modular buildings and rapidly acquiring buildings under construction, we have surged housing to address our homelessness crisis. Our investments have transformed Seattle for generations to come, and with nearly $200 million of investments in the 2022 budget, Mayor-Elect Harrell will be able to continue our commitment to addressing our housing crisis."
Since Mayor Durkan took office in 2017, the Office of Housing has invested more than $547 million of local funds to create and preserve over 7,600 rental housing units and permanently affordable homeownership opportunities. These local investments, combined with leveraged county, state, and federal funds, total an estimated $2.5 billion in housing investments.
"Today's investments represent the culmination of another year of commitment to ending homelessness, preventing displacement, and ensuring everyone in Seattle can thrive in a safe, healthy home within a strong, resilient community," said Robin Koskey, Interim Director of the Office of Housing. "We know the need is great, and thanks to the unflagging hard work and dedication of City staff and leadership, our affordable housing development partners, and our community-based partners, we will continue to build on these historic efforts in the coming months and years."
Through these latest investments, the Office of Housing continues its commitment to addressing homelessness by investing in the construction of quality, safe, and healthy homes that incorporate services and dedicated space to support individual and community wellness. "Housing is the solution to homelessness, and integration into community is what helps people stay safe, healthy and housed. These investments are the building blocks for a city where we all can thrive," said Marc Dones, CEO of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority.
In addition, four of the affordable housing projects receiving funding this fall represent Black, Indigenous, and people of color organizations. These developments provide a number of additional community benefits such as childcare, space for small businesses and other community-oriented uses. These investments also advance citywide efforts to reverse or prevent further displacement of communities of color and support populations with special needs including families, young adults, and elders.
"Caring for our elders is a traditional value for Native people, and the City's support in the rapid acquisition and transformation of Goldfinch Apartments will help us build a community where our elders can heal, grow, and thrive," said Derrick Belgarde, Executive Director of Chief Seattle Club.
Three funded projects will be developed in partnership with faith-based organizations, including New Hope Family Housing, located in the Central District and developed by New Hope Community Development Institute. New Hope Family Housing will utilize the City's new land use policy, adopted earlier this year, to access additional development capacity for affordable housing development on land owned by a religious institution.
"The work of providing housing for Seattle residents that need it and those that have been displaced is one of the many problems that Seattle is facing today," said Reverend Robert Jeffrey, Pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. "I want to thank the Office of Housing, the Seattle City Council, and Mayor Jenny Durkan for allowing the New Hope Development Institute (NHDI), along with our partner the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) to be a part of meeting this great challenge."
Working with the Office of Housing, Mayor Durkan also pursued two new strategies in 2020 and 2021 to bring on additional housing including a pilot to more quickly create more than 600 homes for individuals experiencing homelessness and a rapid acquisition program that will open hundreds of new affordable homes within months instead of years. The rapid acquisition programs have been made possible by the federal American Rescue Plan, which allowed Seattle and Washington State Department of Commerce to leverage local, state, and federal funding.
Historically, the Office of Housing has published one Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) in the fall but in response to the extraordinary need and availability of federal funding over the past two years, the Office of Housing has published multiple NOFAs to support more rapid affordable housing production, preservation, and acquisition. This fall's housing investments mark the Office of Housing's third major funding awards to support the creation of new affordable rental housing in 2021.