OH News

August 2011

From the Director...


OH Staff Changes: Who to Call for What


With OH's Homeowner program manager Mark Ellerbrook and Multifamily Lending program manager Debbie Thiele off to new jobs, many people have been asking who they now should contact for program assistance in those areas. Here's a quick list of staff to call:


Multifamily Rental Lending: Tom Mack, (206) 684-0339 or thomas.mack@seattle.gov

Tom will be acting multifamily lending lead until OH is able to hire Debbie's replacement. OH's 2011 Multifamily NOFA process is on track (see NOFA story below); Tom is the guy to call if you have Multifamily NOFA questions.


Homebuyer Assistance: Quinnie Tan, (206) 684-0346 or quinnie.tan@seattle.gov

Quinnie will replace Mark for the next several months until a permanent program manager is identified. Quinnie will work with program staff Sandy Wolff to help homebuyers access OH funding.


Home Repair Loans: Miriam Roskin, (206) 684-0354 or miriam.roskin@seattle.gov

The Home Repair Loan program for low-income homeowners is being permanently transferred to OH's HomeWise Program. HomeWise manager Miriam will work with program staff Paula Wolfe and Aziz Rahmani to continue to help homeowners whose homes are in need of necessary repairs.


Hiring processes to fill vacant positions are still frozen pending budget discussions. We'll let you know when positions are open to fill.


Rick Hooper, Director

OH Publishes Housing Preservation Guide
Resident Spotlight: Harold's Story
2011 Multifamily Rental NOFA Update
State Updates Prevailing Wage Rates
Hard Hat Zone - Monica's Village
Free or Low-Cost Preschool Available
Seattle's Comp Plan: What's in it for You?
Veteran's Levy 2010 Report
OH Publishes Housing Preservation Guide

Want to assess and preserve your affordable housing portfolio? Look no further than the Housing Preservation Guide, a "road map" for assessing the needs of individual affordable housing properties and entire portfolios, as well as developing workable plans for preserving that housing.


Housing Preservation GuideThe guide includes ready-to-use tools and strategies for each step of the process and an introduction to creative approaches to addressing problems. The goal of the guide is to help affordable housing owners strengthen asset management and property management to optimize the performance of their properties and plan for the long-term viability of their portfolios, to address potential problems early, and to prevent major unplanned "crisis-based" restructures.


Published in late July, the guide represents 18 months of collaboration between the Office of Housing and several nonprofits that received grants to assess their portfolios and create portfolio preservation plans. OH also collaborated with the Washington State Department of Commerce to provide the same planning grants for similar work statewide.


In 2009, OH and Commerce received a three-year grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to support efforts to strengthen and preserve the state's affordable rental housing stock. To date, OH has passed grant funds on to eight Seattle-based agencies, which collectively own approximately 90 properties with over 4,300 units, to develop well-conceived portfolio plans and creative preservation strategies. The collective analysis, tools and lessons learned by these agencies contributed to the guide.


Seattle and our partners are nationally recognized for innovative efforts to preserve affordable rental housing, and we expect the guide will be a resource for housing providers around the country. The guide also will be featured in a panel session at the Housing Washington Conference on Sept. 27.


Download the guide: www.seattle.gov/housing/management/docs/preservation_guide.pdf

Questions? Contact Cindy Erickson at cindy.erickson@seattle.gov.

Harold's Story: Attitude, Strong Will and Perserverance

One of OH's core functions is to fund the development of affordable housing. As such, we often highlight the buildings, as if the story of increasing affordable housing opportunities ends with grand opening celebrations. That's why we've reached out to our partners, the affordable housing providers who serve our community, to help us share the stories of those who live in the apartments funded by the Seattle Housing Levy and other city, state and federal programs.


This month we're featuring Harold who recently lived at Downtown Emergency Service Center's Canaday House in the South Lake Union/Cascade neighborhood.


Ten years ago, homelessness was the last thing on Harold's mind. Tall, fit and attractive, Harold was a rising star in semi-pro sports. His easy going, engaging personality attracted both friends and fans. With a comfortable home, a beautiful wife and a dream career, Harold believed that the possibilities for the future were limitless. Then while vacationing in Europe with this wife, Harold was involved in a tragic accident. At the hospital, doctors treated Harold for broken bones and abrasions but, a fighter at heart, he declined his doctor's recommendation for further testing. As soon as he was able to travel, Harold and his wife returned to the states, unaware that he had suffered a traumatic brain injury and that the symptoms of a permanent and severe mental disability were about to surface.

Harold and Erica

Harold and Erica, DESC case manager


Within a short time Harold's speech became slurred and he had trouble recalling common words. He noticed that he was no longer able to navigate to places that he had previously known so well: friends' houses, his favorite restaurants and bars, the ball field. He experienced delusions. His loss of control over his life resulted in previously unknown levels of anxiety, frustration and stress which he dealt with through angry outbursts and alcohol. Eventually Harold's wife, frightened by his new aggression and unable to help him on her own, checked him in to the hospital for observation and testing. Upon his release, Harold returned to find his wife had moved out of their home and all of his things were locked up in storage.


For a while, Harold was able to stay with friends as he worked on his recovery plan. He even attempted a return to baseball, confident that the structure and required hand-eye coordination would be therapeutic. But despite his small improvements, Harold's frustration over his compromised brain function continued to escalate. Embarrassed and angry, he isolated himself from his friends and he began to wander the streets. Previously an outgoing and accessible man who could connect with anyone, Harold was now ostracized and alone. With no one left to turn to and too paranoid and confused to seek professional help, Harold found himself living on the streets, self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.


Years passed and Harold's physical and mental health continued to deteriorate. One rainy evening in the winter of 2009, Harold was picked up by the police for his erratic behavior and was taken to the University of Washington Medical Center. While hospitalized, Harold was, after nearly 10 years, finally accurately diagnosed and treated for brain trauma, depression and PTSD.


Realizing he was homeless and unwilling to send him back to the streets, Harold's doctors sought help from DESC, where in January 2010 he was offered a bed and meals in the main emergency shelter. Arriving with behavioral challenges, DESC staff worked for months to stabilize Harold and help him accept his problems. "DESC let me recognize things I couldn't see for 10 years," he stated. Slowly, Harold began to trust and confide in his case managers, saying "DESC's support is sincere; there's no way you can slip through the cracks here."


Canaday House

DESC's Canaday House

In August 2010 Harold moved into an apartment at Canaday House, DESC's newest supportive housing site. As he began to feel safe and secure in his new surroundings, pieces of Harold's warm and outgoing personality began to resurface. He joined the cooking and music clubs at Canaday, reached out to support and help other residents, and eventually became a peer counselor at The Recovery Cafe.


Erica Alexander, Canaday House Project Manager, experienced first-hand Harold's challenging behavior when he arrived at Canaday. "He had to come to grips with the fact that he's no longer the same person (after his accident) before he could start to reclaim his life."

Working with the integrated service team at DESC for over a year, Harold grew healthier in body, mind and spirit. "DESC staff never gave up on me," commented Harold recently as he prepared to move out of Canaday House and return to school for computer training. "The staff at DESC makes me strive everyday because they've played such a big part in my recovery.


"Attitude, strong will and perseverance is my motto for life," states Harold, and these days, he is certainly demonstrating the power of it. Today, he lives on his own, has a new significant other in his life, and attends community college. Harold is quick to acknowledge the role DESC had in his success. "DESC helped me feel balance within myself. I've always been a fighter, but the good people at DESC helped me move forward."

2011 Multifamily NOFA Process Update

As of 12:01 p.m. on Friday, July 29, OH's multifamily lending program staff got really busy. That's because our 2011 Multifamily Rental Housing Program Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) application period closed at noon that day. Now, staff is diligently reviewing every aspect of the 11 applications for capital funding OH received. The proposed projects are varied - from rehabilitation of existing affordable housing for low- and moderate-income workers to new construction of workforce housing and permanent housing for the formerly homeless. In all, the projects represent a total request of $44.5 million in public funding (City, King County, Washington state).


With competitive projects and only so much money available to invest, this will be a tough NOFA review process. Staff will continue reviews into the fall, with final funding decisions expected to be announced by the OH director in October.


If you have questions about OH's 2011 Multifamily Rental Housing Program NOFA process, please contact Tom Mack at thomas.mack@seattle.gov.

State Updates Prevailing Wage Rates

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries' Prevailing Wage Program has published updated wage rates. The new wage rates will become effective on Aug. 31, 2011, 30 days after publication.


Construction work on multifamily projects funded by OH is subject to minimum wage rate requirements. OH has established a set of procedures and monitoring practices to ensure the appropriate payment of wages.


L&I offers two ways to view or print prevailing wage rates:

  1. At the following website you may view or print a report of the new journey level wage rates by county or by trade: https://fortress.wa.gov/lni/wagelookup/wageupdatepublication.aspx?PubCtlId=37
  2. You may also look up or print prevailing wage rates for journey level or apprentice wages by visiting the following webpage: http://www.lni.wa.gov/TradesLicensing/PrevWage/WageRates/default.asp. Be sure to select an effective date on or after 8/31/2011 in order to view the new wage rates.

If you have questions regarding the prevailing wage rates please contact Miguel Beltran of the City of Seattle's Finance and Administration Services Department at (206) 684-0385 or Miguel.Beltran@seatle.gov.


OH's wage rate policy, plus other related documents, can be downloaded from OH's website at http://seattle.gov/housing/development/construction.htm. If you have questions about OH's policy, please contact Dan Foley at (206) 684-0585 or dan.foley@seattle.gov.

Hard Hat Zone logo 

Welcome to the Hard Hat Zone, where we provide updates on the construction of affordable housing developments that receive Office of Housing funding. This month we're highlighting Catholic Community Services' Monica's Village Place I, which completed construction and opened its doors to tenants this spring.


Monica's Village Place I

Monica's Village Place

Monica's Village Place I

Back in April, Catholic Community Services of Western Washington (CCS) opened Monica's Village Place I, which provides 51 units of new, affordable housing in Seattle's Central Area, at the intersection of 23rd Avenue South and South Main Streets. The site was formerly the CCS main office parking lot; developing it into housing for working and formerly homeless families offers a better use of that property in an area that has seen little addition of affordable family housing in recent years.


All units are affordable to families making 30% to 50% of area median income (up to $18,250-$30,400 for one person, $23,450-$39,100 for a family of three). Thirty-eight of the apartments are set aside for formerly homeless families with children who will receive supportive services funded through the Gates Foundation Sound Families Initiative. On-site services will include classes and workshops, case management, literacy training, financial management and computer training. The residents will also have access to the services located at the CCS/Randolph Carter Family & Service Center located next door.


Amenities include a computer room and a large multi-purpose room which will be available for community use in the future. The building is oriented around a central courtyard containing a play area for children and a healing/reflection garden.

Free or Low-Cost Preschool Available

Seattle Human Services Department preschool programs are now enrolling 4-year-olds from low- to moderate-income families.

Step Ahead logoSeattle Step Ahead and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) still have free or reduced-cost spaces available for 609 children at 21 sites in southeast and southwest Seattle this school year.

To be eligible, a family must live in Seattle and have a child who will have turned 4 by August 31, 2011. For ECEAP, a family of four earning up to $24,585 per year is eligible, and for Step Ahead, a family of four earning up to just under $67,068 annually is eligible.

Step Ahead is funded by the Seattle Families and Education Levy, and ECEAP is funded by the State of Washington. For more information about these programs -- locations, eligibility and applications -- please call (206) 386-1050.

Seattle's Comp Plan: What's in it for You?

Last month DPD released a survey asking Seattle residents to rank and prioritize the goals driving the Comp Plan review and update. Resident input will help us determine the best way to leverage expected new growth (120,000 new residents and 115,000 new jobs by 2031) to improve Seattle's housing, create business opportunities, enhance our neighborhoods, and provide more services like grocery stores, parks and transit. 

 Seattle's Comprehensive Plan

Take the Survey

If you haven't had a chance to take the survey, please do so now. It only takes a few minutes and your responses will directly impact how we shape Seattle's future over the next 20 years. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SEACompPlan


Stay Connected

More Information

Please forward this to your friends, families, neighbors, coworkers, and any one else interested in setting Seattle's priorities.

Veteran's Levy 2010 Report

Veterans and Human Services Levy ReportThe recently released Veterans and Human Services Levy 2010 Annual Report provides a wealth of information about how the levy has helped veterans, military personnel, their families and other people in need. Approved by King County voters in 2005, the levy provides $13 million a year through 2011.


Seattle Human Services Department operates programs that are partially supported by the levy, including: services that provide home visits by nurses to young, at-risk mothers; treatment for minor depression for seniors; connection of clients to primary health care; coordination work with landlords to help homeless people access housing; the Safe Harbors homeless information management system; and more. The levy is up for renewal on the Aug. 16, 2011 primary ballot.


View the report at http://www.seattle.gov/humanservices/documents/vhs2010annualrpt.pdf.


Seattle Office of Housing logo
Home Base is published monthly by the City of Seattle Office of Housing. OH funds affordable workforce housing, both rental and ownership, as well as supportive housing that helps vulnerable people achieve stability and move along a path toward self-sufficiency. Office of Housing initiatives also help stimulate housing development, allowing families to thrive and neighborhoods to provide a full range of housing choice and opportunity. The mission of the Seattle Office of Housing is to build strong healthy communities and increase opportunities for people of all income levels to live in our city.
For more information on our programs, visit our website. If you have questions about this newsletter, please contact Julie Moore via email or at (206) 684-0604.