Resident Spotlight: Adrian

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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

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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: October 4th

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SPECIAL MEETING NOTICE

October 3, 2017 

The Capitol Hill Housing Board will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, October 4 at 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. Alternatively, participants may call into the meeting using the teleconference information below:

To join this call, please dial:       862-902-0241

And use access code:                   2557448# 

The business of the meeting will be to consider Resolution 2017-21 and any other matters pertaining to the close of financing for acquisition of the Midtown site.

 Thank you,

Capitol Hill Housing

 

Resident Spotlight: Myrtle

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Myrtle remembers walking by the El Nor when she was a little girl living in the Central District. “I remember the women working with their flowers and veggies,” she recalls, alluding to the large, beautiful resident garden, “it was always here.”

Myrtle refers to herself as a “CD Baby” – she grew up here, raised her family here, and later, retired here. She’s seen a lot of changes in those times – buildings torn down, new people moving in, seniors and families getting pushed out. And yet, Myrtle hasn’t let that discourage her. She still feels a strong sense of community in the neighborhood, and even greets newcomers with a friendly “welcome to the CD!”

Nonetheless, she feels lucky to be able to continue living in the Central District. With rising rents and skyrocketing housing prices, she considers her home at Capitol Hill Housing’s 55-unit El Nor building for seniors to be a “blessing.” With a monthly rent she can afford on her fixed income, she is able to stay in her community where she knows everybody and has a strong social network, close to family and resources. Myrtle talks passionately about the bingo nights, the garden, and even regular outings that contribute to a strong sense of community within her building, where she knows her neighbors and feels safe and well cared for.

“We all have so much we can learn from one another,” she says, referring to both her neighbors and other community members. “It’s great to be able to share our histories.”

Despite all this, Myrtle says she is ready to move on. While her apartment is cozy, it is too small to comfortably host guests. And with her daughter and two grandchildren living close by, Myrtle would love to be able to have them over for dinner, and have a place for her grandson to sleep when he comes to visit. Myrtle hopes she can find this in the new apartments being built by Capitol Hill Housing at the Liberty Bank Building, at the site of the historic Liberty Bank.

“I opened my first bank account at Liberty Bank when I was 16,” Myrtle recalls. “It would feel like coming full circle to be able to live in a place with so much historic meaning.”

Looking back, Myrtle is proud of how far she’s come. She has a home, her family is doing well, and she is dedicated to using her life to make a difference for the younger generation. “I’ve struggled, my family’s struggled,” she says, “but I’m blessed to be where I am now, to have a home here in my ‘little sanctuary.’”

Resident Spotlight: Bill Hall

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Bill has lived in the Cal Anderson House for 20 years, his story entwined with the city and the history of AIDS in Seattle. 

Bill first learned he was HIV-positive in 1986 and was diagnosed with AIDS in 1992.  At the time, he had been living in Reno, a city he loved, but one without many services for people living with this disease.  His doctor suggested he moved somewhere with more services, but the wait time for care in places like New York City or San Francisco was sometimes years long.  Seattle, on the other hand, could offer him the support he needed immediately.

Bill recalls how the Seattle community opened its heart to people with HIV. “If you were diagnosed, and you had the ability to travel, you moved to Seattle,” he says. Seattle had support groups, doctors, transitional housing, meals, and hospice care. Most importantly, it had community. Bill became involved in the Bailey-Boushay House, a local organization that primarily offered hospice care to those affected with the disease, but also support groups and resources for those recently diagnosed.

Shortly after his arrival, AIDS Housing of Washington (now Building Changes) came to the Boushay House to discuss housing needs and opportunities for the community.  Bill joined a focus group, where the idea to create an independent living complex for those living with AIDS was introduced.  There seemed to be great support for the idea, but after the focus group disbanded, Bill didn’t know what became of the project.

Bill eventually found a home in the Rainier Valley, commuting 50 minutes by bus for treatment at Harborview Medical Center multiple times a week. Following one of his appointments, Bill was walking down Broadway when he saw a sign advertising the future home of “the state’s first independent housing for people living with HIV/AIDS.” He immediately called his social worker – it turned out this was the same project he participated in a focus group for and they were now accepting applications.

The “opportunity to live people going through the same things you are” was too important to pass up.  When he heard from the Northwest Aids Foundation (now Lifelong AIDS Alliance) who owned the building at the time that he was accepted, he was ecstatic and immediately started making plans to move.

The building was opened in 1994 at a ceremony attended by the mayor and Cal Anderson, at the time the state’s only openly gay legislator who himself had AIDs.  Bill was the second resident to move in and has called the building home ever since.  He loves the location: close to Harborview and other services, and how it feels safe and welcoming to live in a community with people who are going through similar life experiences.  Bill says many people feel this way, and few choose to leave once they move in.  In over 20 years of living at the Cal, Bill can only remember two people who have left (though, sadly, many have passed away due to their illness).

Bill is an integral member of the community. Before his health got too bad, he worked for Plymouth Housing, was a regular attendee at building meetings and events, and volunteered for a number of local organizations.  Just last year, he was nominated by Plymouth for his dedication to the community and rewarded with a beautiful handmade quilt from Seattle Modern Quilter’s Guild.

Bill loves his home and is thankful for the comfort and support it offers. He hopes to build a greater sense of community among his neighbors and elevate the specific needs of residents, a goal shared by Capitol Hill Housing, which took over management of the building from Plymouth Housing in 2016.

Bill points out that the Cal Anderson is a lot more than just an apartment building for residents, it’s their home. When so many aspects of their life are so challenging, having a safe, welcoming place to return to is invaluable.

We’re Hiring: Senior Real Estate Developer

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Scenes from the June 2017 groundbreaking at the Liberty Bank Building at 2320 E Union Street.

Capitol Hill Housing is looking for a full-time Senior Real Estate Developer. Join an exciting team responsible for helping us build and preserve affordability in Seattle. Interested in applying? Read more about the positionYou can learn more about some of our real estate projects in development on our website.

Since 1976, Capitol Hill Housing has worked alongside the community to build and preserve housing affordable to working families and promote the qualities that make Seattle a vibrant and engaged city. Today, we provide secure, affordable homes to over 2,200 of our neighbors across the city while working to make our neighborhoods safer, healthier and more equitable through the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict.

Read more about the position.

SPECIAL MEETING NOTICE

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March 31, 2017

Capitol Hill Housing has canceled the CHH Board Property Development Committee meeting originally scheduled for Tuesday, April 4, 5:30 – 6:30 pm in the CHH Belmont Conference Room.

Thank you,
Capitol Hill Housing

Special Meeting Notice

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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

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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.