Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said the city will contribute an additional $5 million toward the complex, to be operated by the nonprofit Mercy Housing Northwest. A site has not yet been found.
Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Paul Allen will donate $30 million toward a permanent housing facility for as many as 100 low-income and homeless families in Seattle.
The donation will help cover design and construction, and Mayor Ed Murray announced Wednesday the city will contribute an additional $5 million. Mercy Housing Northwest, a local nonprofit, will operate the facility.
The facility will include a service center open to residents and the wider community, said Bill Rumpf, Mercy Housing Northwest president.
“This comprehensive approach is exactly what we need to fund,” Murray said. “It is the kind of thing that makes a difference.”
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Planning is in the initial stages, but Rumpf said design and construction costs should fall within the range of the $35 million pledged by the city and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.
Operating costs would not be covered by the donation. Mercy Housing will seek public and private funding to help defray the cost of running the facility, Rumpf said. Residents of permanent housing such as this generally pay no more than 30 percent of their income for rent.
A location has not been determined.
“Our vision right now is that it’s in a location where there is access to services and public transit,” said Paul Butler, who oversees homelessness programs for the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.
For the city, finding space for new housing facilities has proved difficult. Murray’s plan to open a 24-hour emergency shelter and service center for the homeless by the end of 2016 fell behind schedule when the city couldn’t find an appropriate site.
City officials settled on a location in Seattle’s Chinatown International District in February, but only after the city agreed to cover debt payments owed by the building’s owner.
Rumpf said he’s confident that Mercy Housing, which recently opened a 108-unit affordable-housing complex in Rainier Valley, will be able to find an appropriate site for the new complex. Vulcan, the company that manages Allen’s real estate and other business interests, is assisting the nonprofit in the search, he said.
Officials don’t yet have a timeline for opening the facility. It could take about two years, Rumpf said.
The project has been in the works for several months, according to the Allen Family Foundation.
Murray has challenged the city’s business and philanthropic communities to devote resources toward local efforts to reduce homelessness. In his State of the City address in February, he asked for $25 million in help from the business community over five years.
Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine declared a state of emergency over homelessness in 2015. They’re now developing a measure that would use a 0.1 percent county sales tax to fund efforts to reduce to homelessness.