Governor Inslee Highlights Need for “Missing Middle” Housing in Speech at Copper Pines

On Dec. 15, delivering his speech before elected officials and community members at Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County’s Copper Pines community in progress, Gov. Jay Inslee announced his housing and homelessness policy and budget proposals for the 2022 legislative session, many of which aim to keep people in their homes and address affordable housing solutions.

Lawmakers in Washington State are working to bolster density flexibility for more affordable housing statewide, projected to create hundreds of thousands more homes in the central Puget Sound and many more throughout Washington. Inslee articulated his support for a statewide policy to overturn local bans on “missing middle” housing, effectively ending the practice of exclusionary zoning.

Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County is uniquely poised to address the middle housing shortage through its community development practices. And it is one of several housing policies Inslee wants the legislature to pursue in the upcoming session, which includes $800 million in investments in permanent supportive housing, tiny homes, hotel conversions, and behavioral health facilities.

“A variety of factors drive our state’s homelessness crisis, including lack of affordable housing, unemployment, poverty, behavioral health needs and lack of services, domestic violence and accessible options for people with disabilities,” Inslee said. “Today, I am unveiling a statewide approach that maximizes housing units and getting people into housing solutions.”

“A variety of factors drive our state’s homelessness crisis, including lack of affordable housing, unemployment, poverty, behavioral health needs and lack of services, domestic violence and accessible options for people with disabilities. Today, I am unveiling a statewide approach that maximizes housing units and getting people into housing solutions.”

Gov. Inslee

He stated the investment were goals to:

  • Pursue new avenues to help people remain in their homes
  • Secure more facilities to provide permanent supportive and affordable housing
  • Expand supportive services for people with behavioral health needs
  • Transition encamped people to permanent housing solutions
  • Restore the range of affordable housing types in our cities

Inslee is proposing a change to statewide policy that would allow for creation of a greater variety of middle housing types such as duplexes and townhomes in areas within a half mile of major transit stops in large cities. This change will also allow duplexes and lot splitting in most areas of large and mid-size cities, allowing for older families to stay in the neighborhoods they know while also downsizing if they want. The state will provide technical assistance, including developing a model ordinance, to help cities implement these new measures.

Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County has been realizing the potential of density flexibility wherever possible. With Copper Pines serving as the host site for Gov. Inslee’s announcement, Habitat SKC CEO Brett D’Antonio was able to illustrate to those in attendance how a surplus lot donated by the City of Seattle as part of the Housing Seattle Now Initiative will soon provide homes for seven low-income, hardworking families.

“With more density incentives in place, we won’t just build more homes; we will build more homeowners,” said D’Antonio. “Washington State would see existing barriers broken down to enable middle housing opportunities that meet the demand for more home types near low-income families’ jobs, schools, and public transportation. And for that, we applaud all of our elected officials’ efforts to advance density flexibility statewide.”

D’Antonio explains that housing density legislation isn’t just about rentals; it also enables organizations such as Habitat to provide permanently affordable homeownership units.

“A common misconception about density is the housing type: Density isn’t a gateway exclusively to build apartments. ‘Density’ includes duplexes, triplexes, row-houses, cottage homes, Additional Dwelling Units (ADUs), and Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADU) such as the backyard cottage,” he notes.

Rep. Jessica Bateman (D-Olympia) and Senator Mona Das (D-Kent) are partnering to introduce a bill in the House and Senate that would effectively end exclusionary zoning across much of the state.

During his announcement, the governor was joined by King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor-elect Bruce Harrell, Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards, representatives from the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, Washington Realtors and Habitat SKC.

Details of Gov. Inslee’s full proposal is found in his office’s Dec. 2021 legislative brief.

We thank Gov. Inslee for the opportunity to join us at Copper Pines to present his proposed investments, and look forward to the advancement of these initiatives in 2022.

Habitat for Humanity Named “One of America’s 100 Favorite Charities”

It feels good to be called a “favorite!” The Chronicle of Philanthropy named Habitat for Humanity among America’s Favorite Charities in a ranking that identifies the top 100 national organizations that Americans are most willing to support. Habitat for Humanity International ranks #15 among America’s Favorite Charities in 2021. The report appeared in the publication on November 2.

The overall rankings were based on cash support in the calendar year 2020. The chronicle defines cash support as money and stock received as gifts from individuals, corporations, and foundations (and excludes government grants, donated products, and contributions to donor-advised funds). View the full top 100 ranking here: https://www.philanthropy.com/article/americas-favorite-charities-2021.

We extend our gratitude to you, our local Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County contributors and donors. In addition to your contributions, that helped place Habitat among a select set of esteemed charities for this ranking, we recognize that your donations, big and small, make a huge difference every day for families and communities.

Because of you, our programs continue robustly and make it possible for individuals to purchase, preserve, and stay in affordable homes. That’s what it’s all about! Give the Gift of Home here: http://www.habitatskc.org/donate/

Proof in Partnerships: South Park Community

When public and private interests join forces, amazing things can happen. On Saturday, October 2, Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County celebrated the Dedication of its 13-home South Park Community with elected officials, community leaders, Habitat Homeowner families, and a robust network of community partners involved in this award-winning build.

Habitat’s South Park Community illustrates what is possible by engaging in private-public partnerships. Blueprint Capital assisted Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County in buying the double lot of land for its land trust. It also helped create the award-winning architectural design of these 13, 2-bedroom, 1.5-bath cottages that landed the project a “Best Innovative Design” award in the annual Habitat House Design Contest from Habitat for Humanity International. Additionally, the City of Seattle’s Office of Housing also funded nearly $1M for the South Park Community, as part of its 2020 permanent supportive housing pilot investments.

Blueprint has become an important partner of Habitat for Humanity SKC. The relationship began four years ago on Habitat’s Lake City project with the support and leadership of Blueprint Co-founder Dan Duffus (who had connected with Habitat during a volunteer opportunity), Co-Founder Mark Knoll, Managing Director Darin Granger, and Blueprint’s Feasibility and Permitting Manager and new Habitat Board Member, Lucas DeHerrera. In Lake City and South Park, Blueprint provided pro bono master planning, design, and project management. Today, Blueprint proactively works with Habitat CEO Brett D’Antonio and Director of Real Estate and Development Patrick Sullivan to identify, facilitate the purchase of and develop land parcels for Habitat projects.

“Blueprint’s development and finance expertise, its connections to designers, architects, other developers, and City staff, are robust,” said Habitat SKC CEO Brett D’Antonio. “We are now able to compete for land within city limits and build really incredible projects for our deserving families like never before; Blueprint has been an invaluable partner as we work toward our 2025 goal to serve 1,000 families through new builds, renovations, and repairs.”

A meaningful partnership presented itself for the actual buildout, as well. Square Peg Development served as the South Park Community’s contractor. The local company employs hardworking skilled craftsmen, some of whom have histories of criminal justice involvement, addiction recovery or homelessness – giving these tradespeople a chance to reintegrate into society with meaningful jobs. Square Peg’s excellent construction leadership and their second-chance employment model set an example for others to follow.

Collaborating with the community-led South Park’s Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition was also key, as the organization ensures that homeownership benefits are equitable and community-driven. As the cost of a home in South Park has soared—up nearly 25 percent over last year—projects such as the South Park Community give families living at or below 80 percent of the area median income a chance to own a home in this high opportunity area.

The South Park Community shines as an example of what happens when many interests come together in the name of building safe, equitable housing for hardworking families. If your business or community-driven organization is interested in exploring a partnership with Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County, get involved today! There are many ways to make a difference. Contact us to learn more.

Tyler Town: A North Bend Property Donation To Fulfill Seven Families’ Dreams

Tyler Town, Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County’s only current Eastside project located in North Bend, celebrated its launch on Tuesday, September 28 with community leaders, Habitat Homeowners, and elected officials, including City of North Bend Mayor Rob McFarland and State Representative Lisa Callan, District 5. This property, which previously housed only one home, will now give seven hard-working, deserving families a place to live when completed in Summer 2022.

A generous land donation to Habitat from the Estate of George Krsak has forever positively impacted the lives of these families who are now able to achieve affordable homeownership in downtown North Bend. Each home will be 1,250 square feet, with three bedrooms, 1.5 baths; it includes one ADA accessible unit.

“Tyler Town exemplifies what can be done with a real estate donation and the support of the community,” said Brett D’Antonio, Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County chief executive officer. “We’re not just building houses; we’re bringing a community together.”

At a time when area real estate prices are soaring and affordable housing is scarce, land donations substantially support Habitat’s efforts to create affordable housing in partnership with low-income families in need of decent, affordable homes. Located in a desirable, high-opportunity area, five of the Tyler Town homes are being purchased by families at 80% of the area median income (AMI) and two others are being purchased by families earning 50% of the AMI. Each family has also put in sweat equity of 250 hours on other Habitat builds, its stores, and/or office.

The catalyst for this opportunity was a private citizen who wanted to give back. The children George Krsak, who have chosen to remain anonymous, described their father as a humble, hardworking man who loved his family and community; they added that the building of Tyler Town would have been a dream to Krsak. Born in 1922 in Tyler, Washington, located outside of Spokane, Krsak’s hometown inspired the name of the North Bend community. He served in the U.S. Army and spent much of his life at Boeing, but also served as a bricklayer, masonry contractor, and volunteer for Friends of the Needy.

One of Krsak’s daughters shared a moving childhood memory, which Habitat’s D’Antonio repeated during the event. From her room, she remembers hearing her father and mother pray each night before bed. And that they would end their prayers by saying: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul.” A good reminder that there’s more to life than riches. And that one person can make a significant difference in the lives of others. “I am sure he is smiling down on this project,” she added. We couldn’t agree more.

Habitat is always grateful for the donation of any type of real estate, as finding affordable land to build on is one of our greatest challenges. We look for land large enough to build at least one single family home. A larger lot, such as the Tyler Town Community, allows Habitat to build multiple housing units, impacting more than one family. When you donate land or property to Habitat for Humanity you are a part of the solution to fighting poverty here in Seattle-King County. All types of real estate donations are greatly appreciated, including vacant lots/land, developed property, homes in need of repair, condemned sites, and commercial/retail/warehouse properties.

Habitat for Humanity Celebrates Dedication of Award-Winning, 13-Home South Park Community on Saturday, October 2

South Park - Rendering - 2.14.20 copy

What:      City and County elected officials and other community leaders will join Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County and partner families for a dedication of its 13-home, eco-friendly South Park Community. This completed project provides 13 hard-working, low-income families the long-term financial stability, independence, and equity-building that homeownership offers.

When:     Saturday, October 2 at 10 a.m.

Schedule of Events: Note: media interviews with attendees/partner families can be facilitated.

Welcome

  • Brett D’Antonio, Chief Executive Officer, Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County

Speakers

  • Pastor Kristin Joyner, Pastor of Community Engagement, Bothell United Methodist Church
  • Representative David Hackney, 11thLegislative District
  • Director, Seattle Office of Housing Emily Alvarado
  • Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, District 1
  • Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, Position 8
  • King County Councilmember, Joe McDermott, District 8
  • Feasibility and Permitting Manager, Blueprint Capital & Habitat Board Member Lucas DeHerrera
  • Habitat Partner Family, Aurora Pacheco

    Introduction of Families & Presentation of Sweat Equity Certificates, Keys & Gifts

  • Evelin Martinez, Program Coordinator, Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County

Each Partner Family will share remarks:

  • Thien Ly Bui
  • Ainura Kurmanalieva
  • Aurora Pacheco
  • Jose and Cindy Chibertoni
  • Brandi Jackson
  • Bradley Rogers and Roxane Seldon
  • Barbara Miller
  • Hao Pham and Huong Le
  • Chi-Ming Chan
  • Janet Otieno
  • Mahdiyyah Benjamano
  • German Galindo
  • Stephen Bender and Nahalen Nasset

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony & Blessing of the Homes

Refreshments & Celebration

Where:   714 South Donovan St., Seattle

Details: The South Park Community project illustrates what is possible by engaging in private-public partnerships: Blueprint Capital assisted Habitat for Humanity of South King County in buying the land for its land trust. It also helped to create the award-winning design of these 2-bedroom, 1.5-bath cottages that landed the project a Best Innovative Design award in the annual Habitat House Design Contest from Habitat for Humanity International. The City of Seattle’s Office of Housing also funded $910,000 for the South Park Community as part of its 2020 permanent supportive housing pilot investments.

Additionally, Habitat for Humanity forged meaningful partnerships with community-led organizations, such as South Park’s Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition, to ensure these homeownership benefits are equitable and community-driven. As the cost of a home in South Park has soared – up nearly 25 percent over last year – projects such as the South Park Community give families living at or below 80 percent of the area median income a chance to own a home in this high opportunity area.

Brett D’Antonio, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County, added that utilizing accessory dwelling unit codes allowed it to maximize the development capacity on the site, a double lot which previously housed a single home.

“This project allowed us to address the housing needs of a different family type,” D’Antonio said. “Half of our initial applicants were single mothers with one child, which are nontraditional applicants for our organization, and it underscored the need for this type of tailored housing.”

Square Peg Development served as the project’s contractor. The local company employs hardworking skilled craftsmen, some of whom have histories of criminal justice involvement, addiction recovery or homelessness—giving these tradespeople a chance to reintegrate into society with meaningful jobs.