The Seattle Housing Authority has received a $10.3 million Choice Neighborhoods grant from HUD to support residents in their quest for living wage jobs, high quality education and healthy living. The grant is being supplemented with 60 new Project-Based Housing Choice Vouchers worth approximately $560,000 per year in additional subsidy for the project.
Participation in the HUD-sponsored Choice Neighborhoods program allows Seattle Housing Authority to expand the boundaries of redevelopment beyond its public housing community to include the wider neighborhood. The Choice Neighborhoods grant provides important seed money to begin the redevelopment process and engage new community partners.
The Choice Neighborhoods boundaries stretch from Little Saigon in the south to Harborview Medical Center on the north, and from 14th Ave. on the east to to the I-5 freeway on the west.
Seattle Housing is working with a coalition of partners to transform the neighborhood. Key partners in this initiative include:
- Seattle University
- King County
- Seattle Public Schools
- the Workforce Development Council
- Neighborcare Health
- Neighborhood House.
The long term plan is to focus on expanding housing for all income levels throughout the target area. Now there are just over 1,000 units of housing in the neighborhood, mostly low-income. The vision is to expand to nearly 6,500 units throughout the neighborhood through rentals and privately-owned homes. This housing would serve residents along an income spectrum based on Area Median Income, as follows:
The first phase of redevelopment will add a total of 218 units to the area east of Boren. Seattle Housing Authority will build 103 of these units at a new development at 1111 East Fir St.
The housing authority will also rehab the vacant Baldwin Apartments at 14th Avenue and East Fir to create 15 one-bedroom apartments. Of these housing authority units, 98 will be replacements for public housing units currently existing at Yesler Terrace.
A market-rate housing developer will build a 100-unit building at 12th and Yesler that will also include neighborhood retail.
In order to help the people in the neighborhood thrive, a coalition of partners is using $1.5 million of the Choice Neighborhoods grant to coordinate a comprehensive approach to education to improve the academic success of Yesler’s children and youth. The driving vision for these services is that every child will receive a high-quality education leading to college or living wage work.
Seattle University will oversee a "cradle-to-college" pipeline of educational support services based on the Harlem Children’s Zone model. Seattle Public Schools and other educational entities are key partners. This approach will make it possible for low-income children in the neighborhood to have access to a range of programs from early learning (e.g. Head Start) and tutoring to mentoring aimed at helping students enter college and receive scholarships.
The coalition to support the educational efforts of Yesler's children and youth is based on the belief that the success in education is the best pathway out of poverty for children and youth. A white paper details the goals and theory of change for this initiative.
The vision for the Neighborhood component is to transform Yesler Neighborhood into a diverse, connected, safe and sustainable neighborhood of choice for people of all backgrounds and incomes, adjacent to downtown and major regional employers, for the benefit of the entire city.
A future hillclimb will connect Little Saigon with Yesler Terrace
This component focuses on the community infrastructure and amenities that are needed to create a truly viable mixed-income neighborhood. Choice Neighborhood grant funding of $1.5 million is leveraging other funds to create a pedestrian hillclimb connecting Yesler Terrace to the Little Saigon neighborhood along the 10th Ave. S. right of way.
Horiuchi Park will include community garden space
Horiuchi Park, located off Boren Avenue, is being enhanced with help from the City of Seattle to include community garden space. Finally, the retail space at 12th and Yesler will be subsidized to make lease rates affordable to small neighborhood businesses.
Full neighborhood transformation will take up to 15 years and will be accomplished with an investment of nearly $2 billion in public and private funds, including the $10.3 million Choice Neighborhoods grant. The plan's goals are threefold:
- Transform distressed public housing into energy-efficient, mixed-income housing that is physically and financially viable over the long term.
- Support positive outcomes for families who live in the area, particularly outcomes related to residents’ health, safety, employment and education.
- Transform neighborhoods of poverty into viable, mixed-income neighborhoods by improving local services and access to good schools, public transportation and other public assets.