Annual Meeting Postponed

The Annual Capitol Hill Housing Stakeholder Meeting will be rescheduled. In accordance with current social distancing measures, we will postpone our Annual Meeting, previously scheduled for Tuesday, April 21. Please keep an eye out for future correspondence from us later this year regarding the new date for the meeting.

CHH’s Annual Stakeholder Meeting is an opportunity to hear directly from Capitol Hill Housing leadership about the current state of the organization and what to expect in the coming year, followed by time for dialogue.

COVID-19 Resources for Residents

Here is a list of resources that are being offered to assist residents in response to COVID-19 (as of March 18, 2020).

Residents: Please read our latest letter that contains important information from CHH in regard to COVID-19.

Resources from the City of Seattle
For all resources from the City of Seattle, visit their COVID-19 Resources for the Community website for updates. This website is updated regularly.

Unemployment Resources
If you have lost your job due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Please visit the WA Employment Security Department website or call their claims center (800-318-6022) to see if you are eligible.

Food Resources
– Interactive Map with Seattle Area Food Resources
– Some schools will be feeding all Seattle Public Schools students Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the duration of the school closure. For more information, visit the Seattle Public Schools website
– Free groceries or meals at SODO Community Market.
– If you are currently enrolled in City-supported child care and food assistance programs, you are eligible for $800 in food vouchers. For more information, visit their FAQ webpage.
– COVID19 Mutual Aid and Solidarity Network has a online request form for food and supplies to be dropped off at people’s doors. Requests can be made through this online request form.

Health Care Resources
– In response to the potential growth of COVID-19 cases, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) today announced a limited-time special enrollment period for qualified individuals who are currently without insurance.
– YMCA of Greater Seattle is offering virtual workouts.
– CHI Franciscan is offering free virtual urgent care visits for people experiencing mild Coronavirus symptoms with their coupon code “COVID19” visit the CHI Franciscan website for more information and to access their virtual appointment portal.

Utility Resources
– All SPU and SCL customers can set up deferred payment plans if their financial stability has been jeopardized by COVID-19. Utility service will stay on as their deferred payment plans are developed and implemented. Visit the City of Seattle website for more information.
– Comcast Internet Essentials Program is offering two free months of internet as a response to COVID-19. Residents can sign up for the program on the Comcast Internet Essentials Website.

For New Resources in Real Time
Follow these accounts/websites for real-time updates in resources and news:
King County Public Health – COVID-19
King County Public Health Twitter
Seattle Times – COVID-19 Resources
COVID-19 Mutual Aid Instagram
City of Seattle Resources

Personalized Resource Referral
Contact your Resident Services Coordinator to have a deeper conversation about resources for your unique situation.
– Azizza Mussa: 206-503-4638 | amussa@capitolhillhousing.org
– Derek Senior: 206-681-5553 | dsenior@capitolhillhousing.org
– Demontrice Bigham: 206-471-1794 | dbigham@capitolhillhousing.org
– Ji Soo Kim: 206-637-2364 | jkim@capitolhillhousing.org

Reinvesting in Our Buildings

The Bonanza project includes new exterior siding for two of the buildings as well as brick repairs on El Nor’s exterior (pictured above).

The CHH Bonanza project is the preservation and rehabilitation of the Ponderosa, El Nor and 18th Avenue buildings in the Central District. It embodies one of our most core tenets: Everyone has the right to a quality, affordable home. In some cases, those quality homes are produced not through new construction, but through a reinvestment in our existing portfolio.

By a complex refinancing of the El Nor, Ponderosa, and 18th Avenue buildings, CHH has been able to obtain $140,000 per apartment to go toward improvements. This reinvestment allows for a proactive retrofit of an Unreinforced Masonry Building as well as overwhelming cosmetic refurbishments to make these homes feel brand new. In addition to substantial seismic upgrades, all three buildings will now have new windows, roofs, and cabinets. The kitchens will have new countertops and appliances, and the bathrooms will have new shower heads and toilets. Each unit will also feature new measures in energy efficiency: LED lights are being installed, as are programmable thermostats and low-flow facets. The Ponderosa will even have a new rooftop solar array.

Rehab work began in 2019, and two of the three buildings are nearly complete. The Ponderosa and 18th Avenue buildings’ renovations will be completed next month, and El Nor’s improvements will wrap up in August.

The Bonanza project reflects an ongoing movement toward sustainable preservation. Improving existing built resources is not just environmentally friendly; it has a direct impact on the quality of life for the residents of these affordable homes. CHH is very proud of the work completed and can’t wait for residents to enjoy their safer, improved homes. 

Pictured above: The three buildings included in the Bonanza rehabilitation project.

Liberty Bank Building Celebrates One Year

On March 23, 2019, a child and a reverend hoisted up ceremonial giant scissors and cut the ribbon in front of Liberty Bank Building, marking the momentous opening of 115 affordable homes in the Central District. It has been one year since the building opened, and the community within remains as strong as the showing on the day of the ribbon-cutting.

Michelle Purnell Hepburn, community leader, is the daughter of one of the founders of Liberty Bank. Here she displays historic photos of the original building. Liberty Bank opened in May of 1968 at 24th and Union as the first black-owned bank in the Pacific Northwest. Founded in 1968 as a community response to redlining and disinvestment in Central Seattle, Liberty Bank operated in the Central District for 20 years. The bank provided essential financial services to people and businesses who were otherwise unable to obtain them. Liberty Bank represented resilience and empowerment and stood as an example of a community’s solution to systemic, institutional racism.
The Liberty Bank Building was a community-led development to address displacement in the Central District. A historically black neighborhood, the Central District was a hub for the African American and African diaspora communities that called it home.
The multi-story mural painted on the outside of the Liberty Bank Building was designed by Al Doggett.
The mural reflects the vibrancy of the spirit of the Central District.
Future residents sign an apartment lease.
A high school student sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at the Liberty Bank Building ribbon-cutting ceremony. The song is the Black National Anthem, and some of the lyrics include “Lift every voice and sing, til earth and heaven ring, ring with the harmonies of liberty.”
Michelle Purnell Hepburn watches the proceedings of the ceremony.
Al Doggett, one of the lead curators of art in the Liberty Bank Building, embraces a friend at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Kristi Brown poses with her son and business partner, Damon Bomar. Their restaurant is under construction at the Liberty Bank Building. It builds off Kristi’s wealth of experience with her catering company, That Brown Girl Cooks!
Community members gather to celebrate the opening of LBB on March 23, 2019.
The Liberty Bank Building ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by over a hundred members of the community.
Esther Ervin and Al Doggett in the lobby of the Liberty Bank Building. The two co-curated the art collection inside and outside the building. The pieces pay homage to the history of the site, the original Liberty Bank, and the chronicle of the Central District. Photo by Kevin Scott.
Community members in the resident lounge at the Liberty Bank Building. Photo by Kevin Scott.
Earl Lancaster, owner of Earl’s Cuts and Styles, signs a lease with Christopher Persons, CEO of Capitol Hill Housing for a new space at the Liberty Bank Building in the Central District. After nearly 30 years of business at 23rd and Union, the legendary barbershop moved across the street into the new building. Photo by Yosef Kalinko.
Earl’s Cuts and Styles officially opens in one of the commercial spaces at the Liberty Bank Building.
A recap video of the Liberty Bank Building ribbon-cutting ceremony.

CHH Office Closed Thursday and Friday

Walk-in office hours at CHH’s main office in 12th Ave Arts will be closed to the public Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13. We are still receiving rent checks, packages, and correspondence, as well as answering voicemails and phones. The health and safety of the community is our priority. Coronavirus is a developing situation, and at CHH we continue to follow the guidance of local public health officials in determining how we respond.

We will plan accordingly and provide updates as the situation develops.

Announcing 2020’s Top of the Town Speaker

Karen Fredriksen Goldsen will be the keynote speaker at CHH’s annual Top of the Town event. Karen is an internationally recognized scholar addressing equity and the intersections of health disparities, aging, and well-being in resilient at-risk communities.

Her work focuses on the ways in which historical trauma and intergenerational community engagement have shaped the lives of LGBTQ elders. She is also the founder of GenPRIDE, a nonprofit organization that provides services for LGBTQ seniors. CHH and GenPRIDE are currently working on the region’s first LGBTQ-affirming affordable senior housing project in the heart of Capitol Hill.

“LGBTQ seniors are largely invisible and immensely underserved,” Karen said. “We need to build on their many strengths as we address their housing and aging needs and take action. We need to ensure that local housing and aging services are safe, inclusive, supportive, and effective. If we do not address these needs, there will be much greater public cost.”

CHH is thrilled to further our existing collaboration with GenPRIDE and looks forward to learning more from Karen’s speech. Top of the Town brings together community leaders, developers, and peers who believe in creating an affordable and inclusive Seattle. Funds raised during the evening enable Capitol Hill Housing’s work building and preserving safe and affordable homes for our neighbors throughout the city. The event will be held May 7, 2020 at the Hotel Sorrento. Stay tuned for more details!

Station House Sets Green Goals

Station House, CHH’s newest building, is nearly complete! A transit-oriented development co-located with the Capitol Hill light rail station, Station House is our greenest new construction project to date. 

At CHH, one of our core values is to responsibly steward our properties while protecting the environment. Station House’s construction exemplifies these values – triple-paned windows, solar panels, and a green roof are just a few of the environmentally friendly features of the building. Station House’s insulation also exceeds code to boost energy efficiency while reducing noise pollution.

Construction focused on utilizing healthy materials such as low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint to bolster indoor air quality and ensure our residents are staying in the healthiest homes possible. CHH hopes to achieve LEED Mid-Rise Platinum status, the highest and most selective of the four rankings. LEED promotes standards that closely aligns with our own organizational goals; in fact, according to LEED: “We believe green buildings are the foundation of something bigger: helping people, and the communities and cities they reside in – safely, healthily and sustainably thrive.”

Homeless Service Resource Guide

Akeyla Jimerson, one of the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict Community Development Associates, put together a Homeless Service Resource Guide to help community members learn best practices in supporting Seattle’s unhoused population. All emergent needs should be addressed to Mickey Humphrey, the local Homeless Service Coordinator. Mickey is available for questions and resource referrals at 206-487-4553. The resource guide includes two documents with additional information. The first is pictured below.