Resident Spotlight: Adrian

It would be difficult to recognize Adrian had you met her just one short year ago. She had no permanent place to live, had recently pled guilty to a felony drug charge, and felt like she was running out of options.

In the fall of 2016, Adrian was arrested for drug possession. As an unhoused resident of downtown Seattle, she was on the radar of LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion), an innovative pilot program developed to address low-level crimes in the Belltown neighborhood. With the support of the LEAD program, Adrian was able to participate in DOSA (Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative), in which she pled guilty to the crime and was required to complete a 6-month treatment program in lieu of prison.

To truly get her life back on track, Adrian needed a safe place to live. With the help of her case manager, Devin Majkut, she applied to at least 10 different property management companies or landlords, but was denied every time. Even with a voucher guaranteed to cover the cost of her rent, many agencies were either unwilling or legally unable to provide housing to someone with a criminal record.

“It felt so unfair,” Adrian recalls. “The government gives you a voucher to help you get back on your feet, but that same government has policies that make it almost impossible to use it.”

Devin reflects on how disheartening the process was, “All you’re trying to do is get more stable and it’s hard to be met with closed door after closed door after closed door. We’re both fighters, I’m confident we would have found a place eventually, but I don’t know when, and I don’t know how safe it would have been.”

Luckily, Devin and Adrian were given a break. Through a personal connection, Devin learned of Capitol Hill Housing’s Individual Assessment program. The program is designed for people like Adrian who may have a criminal record or poor rental history and need an opportunity to tell their story instead of being automatically denied housing.

“It gave me an opportunity to explain the circumstances around my arrest, about my history,” says Adrian. “When the applications are being looked at without a face or a name and you’re just looking at a piece of paper – you don’t know the whole story – you don’t know who that person is.”

Capitol Hill Housing took a second look at Adrian’s application, along with her personal statement, letters of support, and additional background information. With support from LEAD, her application was approved, and Adrian moved into her apartment a short time later.

Devin believes that if it wasn’t for CHH, it would have been a long time before a landlord was found who would have been willing to work with Adrian. The nuances of her case and the program can be difficult to understand and with such a recent conviction, Devin feared it would be difficult to convince people that Adrian was truly ready for independent housing.

Adrian’s success, in addition to another individual housed through a similar process, have led CHH and REACH (the parent program of LEAD) to create a partnership where CHH continues to help remove barriers to housing for the population LEAD serves, while LEAD continues to provide case management to their clients. “It’s really exciting to work with an organization with whom we share so many common goals,” says Ashley Thomas, CHH Resident Services Manager. “Together we can provide safe, affordable housing to vulnerable populations, while also meeting an individual’s need for supportive services.”

And for Adrian, it was just the hand up she needed. She’s looking forward to starting school this fall, where she will study Social and Human Services. “I want to be offer support to people going through difficult times – support that wasn’t available to me when I was young.”

Now, Adrian is able to focus on getting back into the community, reconnecting with family, and even just having a normal social life again. “If you’re not having to worry about where you’re going to sleep or how you’re going to survive, it opens the door to so many more possibilities,” reflects Devin. Adrian adds, “Yeah, like what are you going to make for dinner? How are you going to decorate your apartment? How are you going to manage your finances? I never thought about any of that before – I was just focused on survival.”

But now she’s focused on her health, her happiness, and her family. “I’ve reconnected with my grandmother,” Adrian says. “I know she’s going to leave this earth someday, and I’m so happy to now be in a place where I can say, ‘Grandma, I’m okay.’”

SPECIAL MEETING NOTICE: Nov 1

November 1, 2017

The Capitol Hill Housing Board will hold a meeting of the Joint Board Development Committee on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 from 12:30 – 2:00 pm. The meeting will be held in the Belmont Conference Room of the CHH office at 1620 12th Ave, Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98122.

Thank you,

Capitol Hill Housing

Special Meeting Notice

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

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 kdhatt@capitolhillhousing.org. 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 www.capitolhillhousing.org.

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

November 30, 2016

Capitol Hill Housing will hold a special meeting of the CHH Board Executive Committee in the Belmont Conference Room in the CHH main office at 1620 12th Avenue Suite 205 from 5:00 – 6:30 pm on Wednesday, January 4, 2016. This is a change from the original date of the meeting, which was previously scheduled for Tuesday, December 27, 2016.

Thank you,

Capitol Hill Housing

CHH MEETING CANCELLATION NOTICE

CAPITOL HILL HOUSING

MEETING CANCELLATION NOTICE

 September 26, 2016

Capitol Hill Housing has cancelled a meeting of the Property Development Committee, originally scheduled to be held in the Belmont Conference Room in the CHH main office at 1620 12th Avenue Suite 205 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm on Tuesday, October 4.

 Thank you,

Capitol Hill Housing

From the CEO

Doing the Math on Homelessness and Housing

Note: An earlier version of this post included a typo regarding the homeless population in Seattle. The 2015 One Night Count of homeless individuals was 10,047 for King County, not the city of Seattle. This count includes individuals in shelters or transitional housing as well as on the street. The post has been updated to reflect this change. 

Seattle’s struggle to fight homelessness is similar to the battles playing themselves out in major cities across America.  Despite our best efforts, the number of people living on the streets has risen steadily.  In Seattle, we are waking up to the full scope of the homelessness crisis: 4,505 unsheltered people were counted in January of this year, a 19% increase over last year. That doesn’t include at least 6,000 people in shelters and transitional housing.

The causes of homelessness are complex and the solution may seem impossible,  but it’s not. Like the late Bill Hobson used to say, “The solution to homelessness is not rocket science. It’s a home.” In 2014, he put the price tag of housing all the homeless at $800-$900 million.

Let’s take a look at the math. The cost of building a single unit of apartment housing in Seattle depends on a lot of factors, but $200,000 is a reasonable estimate.  At that price, housing the estimated 10,000 homeless people in King County would cost $2 billion, well beyond what Bill predicted in 2014. The sad truth is that homelessness has only grown since 2014 and the cost of building has skyrocketed. That’s the price of our inaction.

With vacancy rates at all-time lows and only a few hundred affordable apartments in the pipeline each year, it’s unrealistic to expect our existing housing stock to fill the need. The logic that a person with an addiction, living in the Jungle is suddenly going to compete in the housing market is unsound. And while sweeping people into shelters may hide the problem, it doesn’t fix it. It’s a temporary solution that doesn’t provide a platform for human growth.

We simply must build more housing.  All of it.  Ten thousand units. To do any less consigns people to the inhumane conditions of the Jungle.

Two billion dollars is a lot of money, but we regularly come together to fund solutions to the big challenges we can’t solve on our own. Two billion dollars is less than half the $4.8 billion we’re spending on a two mile long tunnel; it’s only four times more than what we would spend on a 500 million dollar basketball stadium. If we can muster the political will to build tunnels and stadiums, what will it take to summon the courage to end the inhumanity of homelessness in Seattle?

Bill Hobson was well known for saying there is no such thing as a throwaway person. He was right about that.  But truly honoring the humanity of all our neighbors, those with homes and those without, comes with a cost. The question is whether we are willing to pay it.

Christopher Persons, CEO