HOPE VI Program
HOPE VI is a funding program sponsored by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Seattle Housing Authority has been successful in obtaining over $135 million through this program to redevelop four housing communities in Seattle: High Point, Rainier Vista, NewHolly and Westwood.
Although public housing in Seattle has always been maintained to be livable, elsewhere in the country public housing has been allowed to deteriorate to the extent that people can no longer live in many thousands of units. In the early 1990s, a national commission found that about 100,000 public housing units in the U.S. were "severely distressed" and proposed a national action plan to address this problem by the year 2000.
In 1992, Congress authorized a new program called Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere, or HOPE VI, to carry out the commission’s recommendations. Through HOPE VI, HUD called for the rebuilding of severely distressed public housing with several specific goals:
- Lessen isolation and reduce the concentration of very low-income families by building mixed-income communities.
- Revitalize the sites of severely distressed public housing and, as a result, improve the surrounding neighborhood.
- Provide coordinated, comprehensive community and supportive services that help residents achieve self-sufficiency, attain educational excellence, and secure a desirable quality of life.
Retaining low-income housing units
In many places around the country, HOPE VI has meant a significant decrease in the number of housing units affordable to very low-income people. This will not be the case in Seattle.
Seattle Housing Authority has made a commitment to replace each demolished unit of housing for very low-income residents with new housing these residents can afford. The agency is also expanding the stock of affordable for-sale and rental housing in Seattle as a result of our HOPE VI projects.
The HOPE VI program emphasizes good design to accomplish many of its community-building goals. Principles for inner-city design in HOPE VI projects include:
- Diversity—A broad range of housing types and prices will bring people of diverse ages, races and incomes into daily interaction, strengthening the personal and civic bonds essential to an authentic community.
- Safety and civic engagement—The relationship of buildings and streets should enable neighbors to create a safe neighborhood by providing "eyes on the street" and should encourage interaction and community identity.
- Neighborhoods—Neighborhoods should be compact, with shops, schools, parks and other activities of daily life available within walking distance.
- Local architectural character—The image and character of new development should respond to the best architectural traditions in the area.
- Streets and public open space—Neighborhoods should have an interconnected network of streets and public open spaces to provide opportunities for recreation and appropriate settings for civic activities.