July 2015 

 University Commons Groundbreaking


Upper Left:  Robin Amadon (LIHI), Marion West, Sharon Lee, Lisa Vatske (WSHFC), Miriam Roskin (Office of Housing), Aubré Dickson (KeyBank), Chris Moxon (Impact Capital), Sally Clark (UW), Joe Gruber (U District Foodbank), and Nancy Amidei break ground.  Upper Right:  Racial justice activist Marion West (2nd from right), whom the building will be named in honor of, with Robin Amadon, John Torrence and Sharon Lee of LIHI.  Lower Left:  Sharon Lee with Aubré Dickson of KeyBank.  Lower Right:  University Commons rendering (Runberg Architecture Group). Photos by Steve Rowland


On June 16th, the U District community, including neighbors, funders, non-profit partners, and politicians joined LIHI to celebrate the groundbreaking of University Commons and the U District Foodbank.


University Commons is a mixed-use project in the University District that will open in summer 2016. The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) purchased the property to provide affordable apartments for homeless young adults age 18-24 and low-wage workers who are entering the workforce.


New and expanded space for the University District Food Bank will be located on the first floor. A cafe will be built on the south side facing the University Branch Library. The housing includes 49 studio apartments on three upper floors. The second floor is designated for 15 homeless young adults with YouthCare and Ryther providing supportive services.


Runberg Architecture Group is the architect. The General Contractor is BNBuilders. The building will be built green and includes many energy efficient features. There will be a no smoking policy. The building features community space, classroom, counseling space and decks. The Food Bank will use the roof for urban agriculture by growing vegetables and herbs.


The project will bring multiple community benefits: food security from the Food Bank, affordable housing to the University District, and housing plus services to reduce homelessness among our city's young adults.


Funding sources for the housing includes City of Seattle, King County and Washington State.  KeyBank is providing construction financing.  Tax credit equity is being provided through the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and National Equity Fund.  A private donation from the Wyncote NW Foundation enabled LIHI to purchase the land. 


South Lake Union Block Party Benefits LIHI!

Friday August 7th from 11am to 11pm - Free!

Denny Way/Westlake Ave 



Come join the fun and help out LIHI at this year's South Lake Union Block Party.  Music, food, games and fun all day.  Beer Garden, Savor SLU, and SLU's Best Burger Grilling Competition proceeds benefit LIHI.  Visit our booth to learn about our Tiny Houses project, blow some bubbles, or pick up a hammer and a paint brush and complete a construction project with your friends, family and kids.  Also, Vulcan will match up to $3,000 in donations to LIHI made at our booth!  For more event details visit SLU Block Party.



Our auction team is busy procuring fabulous items for you to bid on at our Annual Gala & Auction.  If you can help us by donating an item, please use our procurement form or shoot our auction team an email.  For sponsorship opportunities please email or call executive assistant Aaron Long at 206-443-9935 x149.  Our target is to raise over $300,000 for LIHI's housing and supportive services programs, and the Urban Rest Stops.

Have a great summer!
Sharon Lee
Executive Director
Low Income Housing Institute