April 30, 2015

Stacked NDC Academy LogoCongratulations to Low Income Housing Institute on being selected as a semi-finalist in the Housing Development Category for the NDC Academy Awards 2015. The NDC Academy Awards Semi-Finalists represent some of the most innovative and impactful developments changing the lives for residents in underserved communities across the country, NDC is honored to highlight the achievements of these organizations at the NDC Academy 2015.

Cheryl Chow Court – Homeless and Low-Income Senior Housing – Seattle, WA

The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) has recently completed Cheryl Chow Court, a 51-unit apartment building on a prime piece of vacant land in the heart of Ballard, Washington – a Seattle neighborhood with a sizable population of elderly citizens.  This six-story property has 50 HUD-subsidized units for low-income and homeless seniors and one for an on-site manager.  There are 25 studios and 26 one-bedroom units. The large and bright studios and one-bedroom apartments include a full kitchen and bath, including level-entry showers. The apartments are accessible for those with mobility challenges and accessible to the hearing and sight impaired. The apartment’s green features include low-flow fixtures, dual-flush toilets, energy-efficient light fixtures and energy-efficient appliances. The residential portion of the building is set back allowing the residents to enjoy the street life on the front porch and has a back porch for community activities.  It also features a community room, a computer room, and offices for a case manager, who is providing supportive services, and property manager.  The property features a rooftop deck with a P-Patch garden and stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges and the city. There is seating along with areas for composting and rain barrels. LIHI is delighted to provide affordable senior housing in one of the most attractive, livable, and walk-able neighborhoods in Seattle. Cheryl Chow Court is located down the street from the Ballard Public Library and Ballard Commons, and is close to Swedish Ballard Hospital, shopping and many amenities. The building will also have an Urban Rest Stop (URS) facility on the first floor of the building with a separate entrance.  The URS will provide free showers, laundry and restrooms to homeless men, women and children.

The completion of Cheryl Chow Court opened up 50 units of greatly needed permanent supportive housing to homeless and low-income seniors.   The 2015 One Night Count of the Homeless found that there was a 22% increase in the number of homeless people in King County over 2014.  According to the Aging and Disability Services, close to 1,000 seniors are homeless in King County and the demand for government subsidized rental properties for seniors far outweighs the current and planned future supply.In the first two to three days after our outreach letter was sent, 200 applications were received. The following 10 days brought approximately 50 more. Of those applications, half were homeless seniors and long-term shelter staying seniors. The waitlist had to be closed within two weeks of it opening.  As of January 31st, we have 26 occupied units with 14 of those homeless seniors. The remaining 25 units will be occupied by March 20th with an anticipated 6 more homeless seniors.

According to the Area Agency on Aging for Seattle and King County 2010 Census, 312,624 people age 60 and above now live in King County, up 30 percent since 2000. By 2025, the number of King County residents over age 60 will exceed 496,000. Nearly one in four county residents will be age 65 or older. Cheryl Chow Court is targeted to homeless and very low-income seniors (62 years and older).  The seniors are capable of living independently. As the resident population ages and the health conditions of the residents change, the supportive services we provide will help the residents to remain in their apartments.  Some “independent” elderly may become “nearly independent”, “nearly frail” or “frail”, and be at risk of premature institutionalization. Cheryl Chow Court is a much needed affordable option for seniors in an expensive neighborhood.