Resident Spotlight: Myrtle

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Myrtle remembers walking by the El Nor when she was a little girl living in the Central District. “I remember the women working with their flowers and veggies,” she recalls, alluding to the large, beautiful resident garden, “it was always here.”

Myrtle refers to herself as a “CD Baby” – she grew up here, raised her family here, and later, retired here. She’s seen a lot of changes in those times – buildings torn down, new people moving in, seniors and families getting pushed out. And yet, Myrtle hasn’t let that discourage her. She still feels a strong sense of community in the neighborhood, and even greets newcomers with a friendly “welcome to the CD!”

Nonetheless, she feels lucky to be able to continue living in the Central District. With rising rents and skyrocketing housing prices, she considers her home at Capitol Hill Housing’s 55-unit El Nor building for seniors to be a “blessing.” With a monthly rent she can afford on her fixed income, she is able to stay in her community where she knows everybody and has a strong social network, close to family and resources. Myrtle talks passionately about the bingo nights, the garden, and even regular outings that contribute to a strong sense of community within her building, where she knows her neighbors and feels safe and well cared for.

“We all have so much we can learn from one another,” she says, referring to both her neighbors and other community members. “It’s great to be able to share our histories.”

Despite all this, Myrtle says she is ready to move on. While her apartment is cozy, it is too small to comfortably host guests. And with her daughter and two grandchildren living close by, Myrtle would love to be able to have them over for dinner, and have a place for her grandson to sleep when he comes to visit. Myrtle hopes she can find this in the new apartments being built by Capitol Hill Housing at the Liberty Bank Building, at the site of the historic Liberty Bank.

“I opened my first bank account at Liberty Bank when I was 16,” Myrtle recalls. “It would feel like coming full circle to be able to live in a place with so much historic meaning.”

Looking back, Myrtle is proud of how far she’s come. She has a home, her family is doing well, and she is dedicated to using her life to make a difference for the younger generation. “I’ve struggled, my family’s struggled,” she says, “but I’m blessed to be where I am now, to have a home here in my ‘little sanctuary.’”

Resident Spotlight: Bill Hall

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Bill has lived in the Cal Anderson House for 20 years, his story entwined with the city and the history of AIDS in Seattle. 

Bill first learned he was HIV-positive in 1986 and was diagnosed with AIDS in 1992.  At the time, he had been living in Reno, a city he loved, but one without many services for people living with this disease.  His doctor suggested he moved somewhere with more services, but the wait time for care in places like New York City or San Francisco was sometimes years long.  Seattle, on the other hand, could offer him the support he needed immediately.

Bill recalls how the Seattle community opened its heart to people with HIV. “If you were diagnosed, and you had the ability to travel, you moved to Seattle,” he says. Seattle had support groups, doctors, transitional housing, meals, and hospice care. Most importantly, it had community. Bill became involved in the Bailey-Boushay House, a local organization that primarily offered hospice care to those affected with the disease, but also support groups and resources for those recently diagnosed.

Shortly after his arrival, AIDS Housing of Washington (now Building Changes) came to the Boushay House to discuss housing needs and opportunities for the community.  Bill joined a focus group, where the idea to create an independent living complex for those living with AIDS was introduced.  There seemed to be great support for the idea, but after the focus group disbanded, Bill didn’t know what became of the project.

Bill eventually found a home in the Rainier Valley, commuting 50 minutes by bus for treatment at Harborview Medical Center multiple times a week. Following one of his appointments, Bill was walking down Broadway when he saw a sign advertising the future home of “the state’s first independent housing for people living with HIV/AIDS.” He immediately called his social worker – it turned out this was the same project he participated in a focus group for and they were now accepting applications.

The “opportunity to live people going through the same things you are” was too important to pass up.  When he heard from the Northwest Aids Foundation (now Lifelong AIDS Alliance) who owned the building at the time that he was accepted, he was ecstatic and immediately started making plans to move.

The building was opened in 1994 at a ceremony attended by the mayor and Cal Anderson, at the time the state’s only openly gay legislator who himself had AIDs.  Bill was the second resident to move in and has called the building home ever since.  He loves the location: close to Harborview and other services, and how it feels safe and welcoming to live in a community with people who are going through similar life experiences.  Bill says many people feel this way, and few choose to leave once they move in.  In over 20 years of living at the Cal, Bill can only remember two people who have left (though, sadly, many have passed away due to their illness).

Bill is an integral member of the community. Before his health got too bad, he worked for Plymouth Housing, was a regular attendee at building meetings and events, and volunteered for a number of local organizations.  Just last year, he was nominated by Plymouth for his dedication to the community and rewarded with a beautiful handmade quilt from Seattle Modern Quilter’s Guild.

Bill loves his home and is thankful for the comfort and support it offers. He hopes to build a greater sense of community among his neighbors and elevate the specific needs of residents, a goal shared by Capitol Hill Housing, which took over management of the building from Plymouth Housing in 2016.

Bill points out that the Cal Anderson is a lot more than just an apartment building for residents, it’s their home. When so many aspects of their life are so challenging, having a safe, welcoming place to return to is invaluable.

We’re Hiring: Senior Real Estate Developer

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Scenes from the June 2017 groundbreaking at the Liberty Bank Building at 2320 E Union Street.

Capitol Hill Housing is looking for a full-time Senior Real Estate Developer. Join an exciting team responsible for helping us build and preserve affordability in Seattle. Interested in applying? Read more about the positionYou can learn more about some of our real estate projects in development on our website.

Since 1976, Capitol Hill Housing has worked alongside the community to build and preserve housing affordable to working families and promote the qualities that make Seattle a vibrant and engaged city. Today, we provide secure, affordable homes to over 2,200 of our neighbors across the city while working to make our neighborhoods safer, healthier and more equitable through the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict.

Read more about the position.

Special Meeting Notice

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CHH Annual Meeting and Stakeholder Briefing

March 23, 2017

Capitol Hill Housing will hold a special meeting, the CHH Annual Meeting and Stakeholder Briefing, on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 from 8:30 – 10:00 am. The meeting was originally scheduled to be held from 9:00 – 10:30 am.

Thank you,
Capitol Hill Housing

Capitol Hill Housing Announces Call for Board Nominations

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Capitol Hill Housing (CHH) seeks nominations of qualified board member candidates from the Seattle communities in which we currently operate and serve residents. Capitol Hill Housing will maintain an active list of candidates for ongoing consideration.

The deadline for nominations is March 19th.

The CHH Board is comprised of 15 voting members who serve three-year terms, as well as two non-voting members who serve two-year terms. In particular, the CHH Board seeks individuals with skill and expertise in the areas of forward-thinking building design, finance, banking, property management, real estate development, and asset management. The Board additionally invites those with existing connections to CHH, as well as qualifications in one or more of these areas, to submit their names for nomination.

CHH seeks candidates who demonstrate the following abilities and characteristics: credibility with the professional community and government entities with which CHH works; reliability, sound judgment, flexibility and creativity; ability to work effectively and cooperatively with other Board members, staff, community individuals, and groups with diverse backgrounds and philosophies; ability to make difficult decisions on behalf of CHH; and ability to take a multi-cultural perspective and to support strategies that foster diverse, sustainable communities.

Prospective candidates should demonstrate a commitment of time and personal resources to Board endeavors; a willingness to serve on Board committees; a willingness to represent CHH at community functions; and commitment to CHH’s mission and values.

Interested parties should submit their resume and a short statement of interest to Kiley Dhatt at Nominations must be received by March 19th, 2017 for consideration.

Capitol Hill Housing has been developing, preserving and managing high quality affordable housing since 1976. CHH currently owns and operates 48 apartment buildings across Seattle with over 2,200 residents. We are proud to develop properties in a community context and provide affordable homes that strengthen the neighborhoods we live in.

For more information, please consult our website at

About Capitol Hill Housing
Capitol Hill Housing builds vibrant and engaged communities through affordable housing and community development. We provide secure, affordable apartments to over 2,200 of our neighbors across the city. Based in Capitol Hill, we have properties throughout the Seattle area, including historic apartments as well as award-winning new developments. Our sustainable communities work includes transit-oriented development, promoting culture and diversity, and the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict.

Special Meeting Notice

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March 1, 2017

Capitol Hill Housing will hold a special meeting of the CHH Executive Committee as a conference call on Friday, March 3, 2017 from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. The call in details are: dial 1-862-902-0241 and enter passcode 2557448. The meeting was originally scheduled to be held in person on Monday, February 27, but was postponed due to inclement weather.

Thank you,
Capitol Hill Housing

Special Meeting Notice

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February 6, 2017

Capitol Hill Housing will hold a special meeting of the CHH Finance and Asset Management Committee as a conference call on Monday, February 6, 2017 from 4:00 – 5:00 pm. The call in details are: dial 1-862-902-0241 and enter passcode 2557448. This is a change from the original format of the meeting, which was to be in person.

Thank you,
Capitol Hill Housing

A Year of Hope

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The following post appeared in our December edition of our monthly e-newsletter, Building Blocks. Sign up on our mailing list if you’d like to receive updates on our work!

As we begin the new year, it’s typical for a message like this to offer a preview of the year ahead.

I’d rather write about hope.

Though we face uncertainty at the federal level, the crisis of affordability in our city continues. Families struggling to find an affordable place to live or communities holding fast against displacement cannot suffer any diminishing of our ambition or weakening of our resolve.

Let 2017 be our year for hope, the year for our most ambitious goals. As we refuse to back away from bold action, let 2017 also be a year grounded in growth and service. If hope is the seed for our highest aspirations, then it must be nurtured with hard work and humility.

It’s a lesson we have learned through our work on the Liberty Bank Building. Expected to break ground later this spring, the project will provide 115 affordable homes, small business opportunities for African American owned enterprises, locally designed art and a thoughtful remembrance of the bank that once was there.

And yet, our vision of a completely inclusive community project has not always been flawlessly executed. We are accustomed to doing things a particular way. We work closely with community, but never before to the extent we are pursuing with the Liberty Bank Building. We don’t always get it exactly right. But that’s when we redouble our commitment to listening to and learning from our partners. I have watched that commitment rise organically from the bed of our culture and take root across our organization.

That gives me hope. It gives me hope that we can learn as an organization and grow in service to community. And it gives me hope that we can partner with communities overcoming disinvestment and institutional racism in ways that allow them to flourish under their own stewardship and dominion.

As we look forward to 2017, I encourage you to take one last look at 2016 through our annual community report. Thank you to our donors, supporters and partners who made our efforts possible. 

Chris Persons, CEO