Habitat for Humanity SKKC and African Community Housing & Development Combine Strengths to Expand Affordable Homeownership in Rainier Valley

SEATTLE (August 9, 2023) – African Community Housing & Development (ACHD) and Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties (Habitat SKKC) will develop and steward 65 new, permanently affordable homes across three sites on Martin Luther King Way S. in Seattle’s Rainier Valley. These projects are the first in ACHD’s and Habitat SKKC’s historic partnership to center Black homeownership and prosperity across multiple projects throughout Seattle and South King County.

The two organizations won enthusiastic approval for their joint proposals from the Seattle Office of Housing selection committee, along with funding from the Seattle Housing Levy. These sites are the result of the Rainier Valley Affordable Homeownership Initiative, a partnership between the City of Seattle, Sound Transit, and community-based organizations with deep ties in the Rainier Valley, to create 100 affordable homes across 10 surplus property sites.

With a community-based partnership deeply rooted in collaboration, capacity-building, and co

learning, ACHD and Habitat SKKC will combine their strengths to deliver high-quality and permanently affordable homes that meet the critical needs of BIPOC and low/moderate income families. This includes family-sized units designed for larger, intergenerational families, multifamily buildings with a higher number of homes for seniors and growing families, and community-centric retail that features essential services from the small businesses that are the

foundation of the Rainier Valley.

“We are thrilled that African Community Housing and Development and Habitat for Humanity’s trailblazing partnership will provide long awaited access to affordable homeownership opportunities for BIPOC families in the Rainier Valley. Our projects will prevent further displacement and will build generational stability so families can thrive,” said ACHD Associate Director and Co-Founder, Bilan Aden.

As one of the most culturally and economically diverse neighborhoods in the Pacific Northwest, the Rainier Valley is seeing widespread displacement of families who have historic ties to the neighborhood. Furthermore, homeownership is seen as the key to intergenerational wealth in the United States. The Department of Commerce Homeownership Disparities Workgroup found that 49 percent of BIPOC households – and just 31 percent of Black households – own their home, compared to 68 percent of white households.

Habitat SKKC CEO Brett D’Antonio said, “I’m confident that Habitat’s proven record of development and stewardship, in collaboration with ACHD – an emerging community-led developer connected to BIPOC communities and businesses throughout the Rainier Valley – will increase the likelihood of growing the number of BIPOC families who own their own home.”

As members of the Black Home Initiative, Habitat SKKC and ACHD are committed to a bold partnership that will increase Black homeownership in the Rainier Valley and throughout King County.

“The Black Home Initiative (BHI) network applauds Sound Transit, the City of Seattle Office of Housing, and BHI Partners African Community Housing and Development and Habitat for Humanity SKKC for this exciting news. Converting this underutilized land into highly needed affordable housing, while addressing the deepening inequities in our region, is in direct alignment with the focus of the Black Home Initiative. This collaborative and creative partnership will bring these homeownership opportunities to reality,” said Civic Commons Chief Architect and BHI Core Leadership Team Member, Michael Brown.

ACHD and Habitat SKKC will build a mixed-use building with 31 condos and 1,452 sf of commercial space at 6740 MLK Way S (Site #6), a 31-unit condo building at 3601 MLK Way S (Site #7), and 3 townhomes at 4865 MLK Way & 3112 S. Ferdinand (Site #9).  All homes created will be permanently affordable homeownership opportunities for households at or below 80 percent of King County’s Area Median Income – far below the current market prices for homes in the area. These projects will also generate opportunities for Women- and Minority-Owned Businesses (WMBE) contractors and suppliers, as well as living-wage jobs that support workforce development for the neighborhood. A 2019 Urban Land Institute report found that just five percent of real estate and land use business are Black-owned. This dramatically impacts the type of development seen throughout communities and further bars BIPOC families from building wealth.

“These projects will address barriers for WMBE contractors and suppliers, as well as support thriving and diverse neighborhoods. When the development of real estate and affordable housing is led by community, it truly represents what is needed by the community,” said Lauren McGowan, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Executive Director.

Once complete, the partners hope that this approach will help build the capacity of ACHD and the greater African Diaspora community to build and manage homeownership projects for generations to come.

About African Community Housing & Development (ACHD)
Founded in 2018 in response to skyrocketing cost of living and rampant displacement throughout Seattle and King County, African Community Housing & Development (ACHD) is a community-led organization serving African Diaspora communities throughout the Puget Sound region. In 2022, ACHD provided holistic and culturally rooted programming and services to nearly 9,000 community members who spoke almost 30 languages, including distributing close to $38M in pandemic rental and basic needs assistance. ACHD’s programs include housing assistance, eviction prevention services, food access and basic needs, education and after-school programs, elder enrichment programs, workforce development, advocacy and referral services, and economic development. ACHD also runs the weekly Delridge Farmers Market, now is it’s third year of operation. https://www.achdo.org/

About Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties

In Seattle-King County, Kittitas County and around the world, Habitat for Humanity brings people together as volunteers, homeowners, donors, and community members to create strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter, ranking in the top 20 of America’s Favorite Charities for 2019 by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Locally, Habitat for Humanity constructs affordable homes, revitalizes neighborhoods, repairs homes for low-income people and seniors, operates discount home improvement stores in Auburn, Southcenter, Bellevue, and Ellensburg, and mobilizes nearly 4,500 volunteers a year and advocates for safe and affordable housing solutions for all people at the state, county, and city level. Learn more at www.Habitatskc.org.