After fifteen years of planning, advocacy, and public outreach – we all gathered together on Tuesday to watch Mayor Jenny Durkan sign the new Fort Lawton development into law. Mayor Durkan stated it simply, “This town has grown so fast, and housing and housing affordability have become the crisis of our time. As we’ve grown we have seen more and more communities of color pushed out of Seattle, and fewer and fewer people who can afford to keep living here. We have to change that, and we have to change that in every part of our city.”

The legislation the Mayor signed rezones almost a third of the 34-acre property from single-family to multi-family and adds a lot of new affordable housing to the area. The redevelopment plan adds up to 238 units of mixed-income affordable housing that also include supportive housing for seniors and veterans. Much of the new Fort Lawton site will be set aside for parks and green spaces.

Habitat for Humanity Seattle – King County CEO Brett D’Antonio stood at the podium and talked about Habitat’s role in the new project.

“Habitat for Humanity Seattle – King County is one of 1,200 North American affiliates of habitat for humanity international with the simple mission of providing affordable homeownership opportunities to families who wouldn’t otherwise have them. Here at Fort Lawton, we will build around 52 3-bedroom row homes and townhomes that are roughly 1,200 square feet. They are family-sized units and will be sold to families of up to six people. “

Jahna Smith, a Habitat for Humanity homeowner and board member shared a personal story of how Habitat had affected her.

“I’ve been in my home for 19 years and getting there was such an amazing experience that changed my life. When I moved into my house I was a single mom with two kids. Working in my home and building it gave me a home to live in and stability, but it also taught me important life skills and gave me the chance to believe in myself. Because of that, I was able to put myself back through school and now I am working as an oncology nurse at a hospital where I am able to give back to my community every day. I gained not just a home, I gained strength and I gained a sense of community. I am so excited to be here for this signing and to be able to give that same sense of community to other homeowners here in Magnolia.”