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Get involved in your community

Get involved in your community

People who live in buildings owned by Seattle Housing Authority, or who receive housing assistance from the agency, have several ways to get involved in the decision-making processes that affect their buildings and communities.

Community building

The community building process puts SHA residents at the forefront of efforts to build their neighborhoods. The agency has seven Community Builders to offer support. Community building puts Seattle Housing Authority residents at the forefront of efforts to build their neighborhoods. It happens when people from across the community come together to imagine their ideal community and then use their resources to achieve those visions. Residents dream, plan, and make the collective vision of their neighborhood come to life.

How it works

The community building process works to increase resident self-sufficiency, improve quality of life, and help better integrate public housing residents with the greater Seattle community. It does this by building on community strengths, working together, forming partnerships, and encouraging broad participation. It supports families, children, and seniors, values cultural diversity, and requires racial equity. It recognizes that new programs and policies must be shaped by the residents of the communities affected by them.

Community Builders

Seattle Housing Authority's Community Builders encourage and support residents who get involved in their communities and in the policy discussions that affect them:

High Point: Ella McRae,, 206.519.7426

Lake City Court: Teroshua Thomas,, 206.910.2648

Low Income Public Housing properties North: Gretchen Bear,, 206.802.8356

Low Income Public Housing properties South: Nora Ortiz Romero,, 206.384.5461

NewHolly: Phillippia Goldsmith,, 206.915.3575

Rainier Vista: Shanti Martin,, 206.849.1284

Seattle Senior Housing Program properties: Marie Girard,, 206.839.7545

Yesler Terrace: Ben Wheeler,, 206.615.3579

Councils and committees

Many public housing buildings have resident councils that support activities and events within the building. The Resident Action Council (RAC), Joint Policy Advisory Committee (JPAC), and Seattle Senior Housing Program Advocates II (SSHPA) offer other chances to get involved. Please contact the community builder who works in your community to learn more. 

Resident councils

A number of SHA Housing communities have elected resident councils. Resident councils generally plan activities and events for their buildings, and look for ways to make their buildings friendlier and safer. Sometimes they plan potlucks and social and educational events.
Check the bulletin board in your building for news about your resident council. 
  • Bell Tower
  • Ballard House
  • Beacon Tower   
  • Cal-Mor Circle
  • Center Park
  • Center West
  • Green Lake Plaza
  • Harvard Court
  • International Terrace
  • Lake City House
  • Lictonwood
  • Stewart Manor
  • Tri-Court
  • University House
  • University West
  • Westwood Heights
  • Yesler Terrace

Resident Action Council

The Resident Action Council (RAC) is a group of Seattle Housing Authority residents who meet ten times a year to consider and act on issues concerning public housing and other issues affecting low-income people. Decisions on which issues the organization will address are made by a vote of the current membership at a regular meeting of the organization.
Full membership in the RAC is open to any individual over 18 who leases a unit in Seattle Housing Authority's Low Income Public Housing program. Associate membership is available to residents of other agency housing programs, including the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8).
The Resident Action Council Board is elected by the membership annually.
The RAC meets the second Wednesday of most months. Information about the RAC is posted in public housing communities. 

Joint Policy Advisory Committee

The Joint Policy Advisory Committee (JPAC) meets on a quarterly basis to review major draft policies affecting Seattle Housing Authority's Low Income Public Housing program.
JPAC includes public housing residents and agency staff. JPAC has advised Seattle Housing Authority about policies concerning pets, rent, smoke detectors, fraud, house rules, occupancy standards, and the Community Service and Self-Sufficiency Requirement, among others. The Committee also provides input about the agency's annual Moving to new Ways (MTW) plan.
Each duly elected resident council is able to have a representative and an alternate as members of JPAC. Seattle Housing Authority also encourages residents from communities without resident councils to participate.

Board of Commissioners

Seattle Housing Authority's seven-member Board of Commissioners meets monthly to set policy governing the agency. They are appointed by the Mayor of Seattle and confirmed by the City Council. Two residents serve on the Board. Learn more about the Board of Commissioners and view their upcoming meeting schedule. Board meetings are open to the public.