As a site manager, Hassna serves 47 families across three
CHH buildings – the 412, the Byron Wetmore, and Joe Black Apartments. As she
tells it, there is no such thing as a typical day. Between overseeing
properties, addressing resident concerns, and supervising vendors, her main priorities
are accountability, community, and communication.
Key to her success is staying organized – coordinating care
for the building, including cleaning and maintenance, is something she’s doing constantly.
And while CHH has a 48-hour response policy, Hassna tries to respond to
voicemail and email as soon as possible.
Having started at CHH as a front-desk housing assistant,
Hassna wants residents of her buildings to know that she is working for them.
She’s happy to listen, to make service referrals, and sees herself in
partnership with residents. Ultimately, she hopes that folks feel a sense of
CHH Resident Services is proud to partner with Byrd Barr Place, one of Washington’s oldest community organizations. Byrd Barr Place provides “essential human services to Seattle residents who are struggling to make ends meet”. Their programs include healthy food, personal finance, housing and energy assistance focused especially on emergency situations.
Resident Services staff refer CHH residents to Byrd Barr’s
Home Delivery food program and frequently use their resource list to connect
residents to services. Staff have coordinated eight LIHEAP Outreach events to
sign CHH residents up for Byrd Barr’s Energy Assistance Program.
This great relationship yields smooth referrals, letting
Resident Services staff know that they are directing residents to a caring and
responsive agency. CHH is also partnering with Byrd Barr Place on our Rise
Together capital campaign to raise funding for equitable development projects
in the Central District, Capitol Hill, and White Center – including the
renovation of Byrd Barr Place’s historic home, Fire Station 23 (pictured
If you missed seeing this solo exhibition by photographer Kelly O. during the Capitol Hill Art Walk, stop by the 12th Avenue Arts Gallery to take a look!
12th Avenue Arts Gallery 1620 12th Ave Second Floor Seattle, WA 98122
Artist Statement: I’ve lived in Seattle since 1998, relocating from Detroit, Michigan. I learned much about this city working 18+ years as a designer/writer/photographer at The Stranger newsweekly. In addition to The Stranger, my photographs have appeared online in The New York Times, Huffington Post, ABC News, XLR8R, and VICE. In print, I’ve been published in SPIN, Interview, UNCUT, Mojo, BUST Magazine, and Seattle’s City Arts. Previously showing work in Seattle art galleries Vermillion, Vignettes, Ghost Gallery, the Hard L, and Greg Kucera Gallery—in 2017, three of my photographs (of musician Tendai Maraire) were featured in a show at the Seattle Art Museum. This summer, I am doing an artist residency with #ShoutYourAbortion, and I’m excited to be one of the featured artists at Bumbershoot 2019. My pronouns are she/her, and I celebrate Seattle’s Gay Pride all year long.
The past six months have been busy as the Advisory Committee
has navigated a site change to Broadway between Pike and Pine and the selection
of a ground floor tenant: GenPRIDE. Focused on empowering older LGBTQ+ adults
to live with pride and dignity, GenPRIDE promotes, connects, and develops
innovative programs and services that enhance belonging and support, eliminate
discrimination, and honor the lives of older members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The move to Broadway – originally, the building was to sit
at the corner of 14th Avenue and East Union Street – brings better
access to more amenities, including the Capitol Hill light rail station, and
more visibility for the services that GenPRIDE and others will provide. If this
project is funded by the Seattle Office of Housing this fall, we plan to break
ground in December 2020.
With 90+ affordable apartments at 60% at or below area median income, a main goal of the project will be to create an anchor for a community at risk of displacement – one that provides health and social services to residents as well as community members not living on site. In addition to becoming its headquarters, GenPride will oversee space on the ground floor to serve community-determined needs.
“This housing project is significant for many reasons—the need for affordable housing is essential, especially for our LGBTQ elders. Many of us have been displaced to far-flung areas in the region where isolation and limited access to services creates more risk to our health and well-being,” says Steven Knipp, GenPRIDE’s Executive Director. “It is also important for us to reclaim Capitol Hill as the LGBTQ+ historic center—and placing this building right in the heart of the neighborhood sends a clear message that we are still here.”
Miriam Pratt’s parents used to live at 17th and
Yesler in the Central District when they first arrived in Seattle, less than 20
blocks from her east-facing apartment in the Liberty Bank Building – she loves
watching the beautiful sunrises. Her father was civil rights leader Edwin T.
Pratt, memorialized in the Pratt Fine Arts Center, Pratt Park, and, most
recently, the Edwin Pratt Early Learning Center. She sees his name and picture
by the elevator every time she comes home now.
The Pratts embodied a vision for equal housing, education,
and employment, becoming the first Black family to live in Shoreline. 50 years
ago, her father was assassinated at their home. Miriam was five years old.
She and her mother left Seattle and, in 1978 when her mother
passed away, she moved back to Seattle for several years and then to Texas to
live with her grandparents. She’s now living in Seattle for the first time
since her childhood, putting the finishing touches on her new,
“It feels like a village,” she says. “We help each other
out. We all work together. It’s a joy.”
Miriam remembers receiving a call from Sasha, a CHH Housing
Assistant, asking if she was still interested in living in the Liberty Bank
Building. She’d been on the waitlist. In fact, she had been staying with
friends and family without a home of her own for a very long time. She imagined
her parents were looking out for her.
For Miriam, the Liberty Bank Building is an opportunity to
bring back a community disenfranchised by the oppressive systems and attitudes
that her father fought against and that that persist today. Named after and
located on the same site as the historic Liberty Bank, the first Black-owned
bank west of the Mississippi, the building represents a legacy of community
resilience in the face of systemic, institutional racism. It also creates
opportunities for a bright future for its residents.
“The Liberty Bank Building is an example of what he would
have liked to see being done,” she says.
For herself, she sees this moment in time as a chance for
all people to “light the torch again” to make progress toward equality and
civil rights for everyone.
“I’ve met families who grew up in the Central District who
can only stay because of Affordable Housing.” She’s committed to seeing more
families stay in place and to welcoming displaced people back home.
Last June, we celebrated the groundbreaking for transit-oriented development above the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station. CHH will build 110 apartments affordable to households earning at or below 30%, 50%, and 60% of area median income in a mix of studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units at the corner of 10th Avenue East and East John Street. The building is being built with a goal of reaching a LEED Platinum standard and will also include a 1,409 square foot community room. CHH plans to complete the framing of the top story on this, our 50th building, during the week of May 20th.
See below for an animated look at the evolution of Station House since June!
Photos courtesy of Charles Hall. GIF by Yiling Wong.
Recently, CHH Housing Development Associate Charles Hall sat down with A-P Hurd, President of SkipStone, a consulting firm that provides real estate and planning services to private and public clients. She is the former president of Touchstone, a real estate development company that built nearly 3 million square feet of office, retail, hotel, and residential space between 2007 and 2017 and won the national Developer of the Year award in 2016. With our real estate team, she has been developing a model for alternative financing which could make the creation of affordable housing less dependent on government funding. Earlier this month, she gave the keynote speech at CHH’s Top of the Town dinner.
Q: What do you think are some common
misconceptions about developers and the kinds of changes that occur when cities
grow and neighborhoods transform? What would you want people to know about this
A: In a
growing city, developers are the people who create capacity for new arrivals.
For many people who don’t like that their city is growing (and therefore
changing), it’s easy to blame developers. But the reality is that development
is a consequence of population and job growth, not the cause.
migration is the biggest cause of urban growth in places like Seattle. Regional
migration for economic reasons is an even bigger demographic force in the US
than immigration, but people talk about it a lot less. There’s a lot of “good
liberals” in Seattle that are pro-immigration but anti-growth in Seattle—however,
the people coming to Seattle from other parts of the country are driven by the
same search for economic opportunity as immigrants. So why shouldn’t we make
room for them?
We talk a
lot in Seattle about “preserving neighborhood character”, but that may be less
important than housing everyone who needs it in our region and doing so in a
way that is transit-connected to areas of economic opportunity. If you’re a
good liberal, that should be the biggest goal of all.
developers make a convenient bogeyman when people aren’t feeling brave.
Q: Last fall, the Seattle Office of Housing
received more than $250 million in applications for housing but had only $40
million in its coffers. That seems to indicate great need as well as great
motivation on the part of developers to build affordable housing. Tell us more
about why helping Capitol Hill Housing is important to you and why a market
rate commercial real estate developer might be a good partner?
Hill Housing is one of the most innovative affordable housing providers in the
region. I love that CHH thinks big and thinks about environment and housing.
CHH also thinks creatively and systemically about problems and gets things
In fact, the
workforce housing project that we are working on together recognizes the need
for housing at all price points and the importance of getting housing into
production quickly. We’re hoping to come up with private sector capital
strategies that can build workforce housing (80-90% of average median income) in
larger volumes in the hands of an experienced non-profit like CHH, and get it
built faster than we might otherwise be able, given the limited availability of
public funds for a traditional non-profit capital structure. If we can do
something replicable, it will be a huge win.
Q: Do you have a life philosophy that ties
to the work you do?
Yes, but haven’t boiled it down to 200 words yet. How about this: Be kind, be myself, think in systems, own the
problems and work them, and live like someone who’s only got one planet.
March 25 – The Seattle Housing Authority (SHA), Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), and Capitol Hill Housing (CHH) announced a joint venture to develop 158 apartments of affordable homes for working families in a location near Yesler, Little Saigon, and the Central District.
The majority of the residential units in the development will be two- to four-bedroom units in order to address the growing need for housing for medium- and large-sized families. Additionally, the development will include an 8,000 square-foot child care/early-learning center to be operated by the Denise Louie Education Center. It will also feature units that can be licensed for in-residence operation of childcare. Other amenities will include common areas for resident gathering and activities; exterior courtyards for the child care/early learning center and community gardens. One thousand square feet of the portion of the building facing Yesler Avenue will be dedicated to community-based commercial/retail services. Thirty-nine parking stalls will serve housing residents and childcare center staff. The project is expected to be completed in 2021, and is the first new construction developed by SCIDpda since 2004.