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caption: An illustration of the new apartments at John Street and Broadway in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. The apartments were purchased by the city to house people experiencing homelessness.
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An illustration of the new apartments at John Street and Broadway in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. The apartments were purchased by the city to house people experiencing homelessness.
Credit: SHW designers

Seattle buys 3 new apartment buildings to help house people experiencing homelessness

The city of Seattle has purchased three new apartment complexes on Capitol Hill for people who are currently or formerly homeless, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced on Monday.

The city says the buildings have room for 165 people, including unsheltered veterans and young adults.

The three buildings are located in the heart of Capitol Hill, not far from the busy intersection of John and Broadway. They are newly built studios, originally intended to be rented at market rate. But with the downturn in the housing market this year, due to the pandemic, these units were not being rented. So the city of Seattle purchased the three developments, splitting the more than $50 million bill with Washington state through the Department of Commerce’s new Rapid Capital Housing Acquisition program.

"The state matched our local funds dollar for dollar to fully and quickly fund these buildings,” said Emily Alvarado, director of the Seattle Office of Housing.

Durkan called the buy a “first round” of investments to help combat the city’s housing crisis. She said over the next year “more than 1,300 homes will come online to support our neighbors facing the most extreme challenges.”

caption: A chart showing new apartment buildings on Capitol Hill that Seattle intends to use for housing people experiencing homelessness.
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A chart showing new apartment buildings on Capitol Hill that Seattle intends to use for housing people experiencing homelessness.
Credit: Mayor Jenny Durkan's office

The purchase comes as a record number of people around Seattle are without a stable place to live. During the most recent one night count in King County, nearly 12,000 people were experiencing some form of homelessness.

The new complexes will be owned by the Low Income Housing Institute, which will also operate the two buildings serving adults. The third building will be operated by YouthCare and house young adults who are without stable housing. All of the buildings, the city says, will come with onsite case management, 24/7 security, and access to services like job training.

"These buildings are not temporary,” Alvarado said. “They will provide stable, high quality affordable homes for the next 50 years.”

These apartments aren’t the first of their kind on Capitol Hill. In February, a seven-story, 76 unit apartment building on Howell opened to homeless veterans and people with Section 8 vouchers.

Residents of the new buildings will start moving this fall.