Gardner House and Allen Family Center welcomes the community to join opening celebration
Today, Mercy Housing Northwest, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and the City of Seattle announced the official public opening of Gardner House and Allen Family Center, which offer permanent supportive housing and a one-stop service hub for King County families, particularly those experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, the opening celebration will take place online, kicking off with a virtual tour on Wednesday, June 24 and continuing through Friday, June 26, culminating in a virtual block party open to all, hosted by DJ SupaSam, official DJ for the Seattle Seahawks.
“Families experiencing homelessness are sometimes described as invisible – hidden from view and underrepresented in official counts. Gardner House and Allen Family Center prioritize families with a two-pronged approach offering family-sized housing and services to help families avoid or exit homelessness,” said Jody Allen, co-founder and chair of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. “Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Gardner House has been able to welcome more than ninety families to their new homes, while the nonprofit organizations at the Allen Family Center quickly pivoted to delivering services virtually where needed. It’s partnerships like these that will help build lasting solutions to homelessness in our community.”
Gardner House has 95 family-sized apartments, roughly half of which are permanent supportive housing, while the remaining units are affordable housing. Two of the units are in-home childcare units, and were specifically designed for those simultaneously in need of affordable housing and who are or want to become licensed childcare providers. 94 of the 95 units have been filled.
The ground floor of the building is home to the 8,000-sq. ft. Allen Family Center, where families can access services to help with housing search and employment assistance, affordable childcare, diversion services, and community events. The Allen Family Center is the first of its kind in Seattle, co-designed by the service providers based on input from families to deliver coordinated care as a team. Service providers at the Allen Family Center include Child Care Resources, Mary’s Place, Mercy Housing Northwest, and Refugee Women's Alliance (ReWA). Operating funds for the Allen Family Center come from the City of Seattle’s Human Services Department.
“The value of great public-private partnerships cannot be understated. As the City leveraged affordable housing, it also partnered with our community organizations on the frontlines of making change in our community,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “Paul Allen’s legacy will live on through this building that will continue to support our most vulnerable low-income and formerly homeless neighbors in need of housing and services.”
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Allen Family Center worked with King County Public Health to establish health and safety protocols and is offering a mix of in person and remote services. Walk in clients are welcome.
“The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the incredible need for affordable housing in our city, particularly among families who are most vulnerable,” said Joe Thompson, president of Mercy Housing.
Northwest. “I’m proud of our team and our partners who adapted very quickly in light of COVID-19 and were able to offer housing and resources at the most critical time. They made it possible for families who were coming from homelessness to shelter in place.”
Gardner House and Allen Family Center were made possible by $30 million in funding from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to develop and build the permanent affordable housing facility, as well as funding from the City of Seattle: $5 million from the Office of Housing and $10.7 million made available through a tax credit.
Mercy Housing Northwest will own and operate Gardner House and Allen Family Center.
Virtual Grand Opening Schedule:
- Wednesday, June 24: Virtual Tour & Meet the Artist at noon
- Thursday, June 25: Meet the Families at noon
- Friday, June 26: Meet the Partners at 10 am & Virtual Block Party at noon
Links to each event will be available on allenfamilycenter.org
About Mercy Housing Northwest
Mercy Housing Northwest owns and operates 54 properties throughout Washington and Idaho, providing over 5,000 families and seniors a place to call home at below-market rent. We believe a family or senior’s lack of financial resources should not determine their ability to access high quality and safe affordable housing. Beyond housing, we provide onsite resident services that focus on five key program areas – housing stability, health and wellness, community engagement, education and financial wellbeing.
About Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
For more than four decades the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has focused on changing the trajectory of some of the world's toughest problems. Founded by philanthropists Jody Allen and the late Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, the foundation initially invested in community needs across the Pacific Northwest with a focus on regional arts, under-served populations, and the environment. Today, the foundation supports a global portfolio of frontline partners working to preserve ocean health, protect wildlife, combat climate change, and strengthen communities. The foundation invests in grantees to leverage technology, fill data and science gaps, and drive positive public policy to advance knowledge and enable lasting change.
Mercy Housing Northwest: MWright-Soika@mercyhousing.org, (814) 441-9023
Paul G. Allen Family Foundation: firstname.lastname@example.org, (206) 342-2230