Additional housing coming to Magnuson Park

The Solid Ground Board of Directors voted unanimously last week to move forward with the final phase of housing construction at Magnuson Park/Sand Point. Fifty-four new units are planned. This will bring the total number of housing units for formerly homeless people at the former Navy Base to the 200 outlined in the City of Seattle’s Reuse Plan.

Site plan for Sand Point

We will begin pre-development activities and submit funding applications to the City of Seattle, King County and State of Washington, as well as an application for federal tax-credits. If all goes as planned, we hope to break ground in February 2012 and complete construction in late 2012.

This part of the project will be constructed on two sites, one building which dovetails with the Brettler Family Place footprint and another across the street from Santos Place. The 54 permanent housing units will be for families and singles.

Solid Ground will continue working with the developer, Common Ground, and architect firm, Tonkin Hoyne, who partnered with us on Brettler Family Place.

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Brettler Family Place: The finished product!

We’ve recently celebrated the Grand Opening of Brettler Family Place and shared with you photos of the event. But we realized that those shots were primarily of speakers and guests, so we wanted to give you a better view of what the completed Brettler Family Place looks like. The following slideshow gives you the goods. Also, we have been documenting the past year of construction. Can you tell that we are proud of this development?

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While Brettler Family Place ends homelessness for 51 families, we are not quite done with our housing development at Magnuson Park. Stage 2 of this project will include 20 additional housing units for families, as well as 34 units for single men and women, including veterans, seniors and people living with disabilities.

The overall cost of the entire project is in the neighborhood of $30 million. Thanks to many generous people and institutions in our community, we are very close to completing our fundraising. In fact, we have only $515,000 in private funding left to raise! If you would like more information on the project, contact Ali Friedman: alif@solid-ground.org.

First tenants move in at Brettler Family Place

If you listened carefully this morning, you could hear the soft padding of young feet in jammies in the hallways at Brettler Family Place. Tea kettles whistled and warm voices called “wake up,” where once the drone of air compressors and the pop of impact drivers filled the soundscape.

Kelly, our first resident!

For the past year, the sounds and sights of construction have dominated this little hillside on the western edge of Magnuson Park. Now, homemaking has taken over. Because yesterday, the first dozen families moved from shelter and transitional housing facilities across the region into their new, permanent, affordable homes at Brettler Family Place.

“This is the beginning of something great for me,” said Joyce, who called her car ‘home’ not too long ago. She was all smiles as she approached her apartment for the first time, its third floor views extending across Magnuson Park to Lake Washington and the Cascade mountains.

Monday afternoon, six new families received their orientation by staff at Solid Ground, who developed the 52-unit Brettler Family Place, and Mercy Housing, who are managing the property. They went over ground rules and guidelines for making this new community a safe, welcoming, environmentally-friendly one. For some, it was the first permanent housing they have ever had; for others, the first in a long time.

Orientation with staff of Solid Ground and Mercy Housing

The first 12 families got their keys on March 7. Within a few weeks, 51 units will be filled with formerly homeless families. In the context of the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, this represents significant progress: Within a few weeks, homelessness will be over for these 51 families. The supportive services on site will help ensure that they maintain their new position on solid ground.

And all around King County, as these families exit the facilities they have been living in, other families anticipate moving into now-vacant slots at transitional housing programs. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of candidates for those programs.

Throughout the spring, the landscaping at Brettler Family Place will take root – and the yard, which still reminds you of a construction zone, will fill in. The Lowry Community Center will open to host casual get-togethers and formal events. Kids will ride their bikes in the park. And life will start to settle down from the crisis-driven cycle of homelessness to something more even-keeled. From beautiful buildings will come a vibrant community.

Landscapers still working at Brettler Family Place

The process of transforming a formal military airfield, one of the nation’s foremost “swords in ploughshares” conversions, will come a step closer to fulfilling its promise of 200 housing units for formerly homeless folks. Sometime in the next year, Solid Ground hopes to launch the final phase of the development, constructing additional family units as well as housing for veterans and other singles.

When the Naval Station Puget Sound was first listed for base closure in the mid-1990s, there was a tremendous outpouring of ideas about how to best use the remarkable facilities and setting. Throughout a multi-year, city-wide planning process, the Sand Point Liaison Committee – under the leadership of former City Council member Jeannette Williams – helped the city craft a plan that incorporated recreational, cultural, educational and other uses. The notion of housing formerly homeless people on the site was proposed early on in the planning process. While there was some trepidation at first, it was soon roundly accepted by the Committee, which represented most of the community clubs and neighborhood organizations in the NE part of the city, as well as other park stakeholders.

Living in transitional housing is not the best time to collect lots of stuff

I had the privilege of serving as the alternate representative for the Seattle King County Coalition on Homelessness to the Liaison Committee. In that role I saw how initial fears about locating housing for formerly homeless people in the park transformed into concerns about how we could work together to build the best possible community for these people. Since Spring 2000, when families and singles first moved in to repurposed Navy buildings, neighbors from the surrounding community have invested their time, talent and love in making the Sand Point Community Housing program successful. Individuals and groups from “up the hill” continue to help shape and support this growing community.

But for the families who moved in yesterday, that is all just old business. For parents like Justine, their sights are set on the future.

While Justine thinks about a better future, Analiyah thinks about a nap.

Justine is a 20-year-old single mom, who, along with her young daughter Analiyah, moved into her first real home yesterday. “I’ve never had my own permanent housing before,” Justine said. Kicked out of her family as a teen, she’s had a handful of challenging years. But now, Brettler Family Place is giving her the stability to pursue a nursing career. She’s almost finished with her prerequisites at a local community college. Her sense of hope, and that of her new neighbors, is as powerful as the promise of spring. And like the blooms that will soon overtake the park, new life is shooting up at Brettler Family Place.

Townhomes, views to Lake Washington

A fond farewell, a fitting tribute

Talking up the campaign for Brettler Family Place

Today Solid Ground bids a fond farewell to Zanne Garland, our Individual Giving Manager. Zanne has pretty much revolutionized our fundraising approach and our ability to engage individuals, companies and groups in our work. She has more than doubled our Annual Campaign Revenues and helped raise the funds to build Brettler Family Place at Sand Point, which will provide permanent housing for 51 families starting later this Spring.

Those of you who have had the chance to get to know her will agree that Zanne is both a blast to spend time with and a rising star whose brilliance has graced our community for the four years she has been with us. She’ll have a positive impact wherever she goes; for the next few months, that will be traveling the world with her husband, Jackson.

In honor of Zanne’s great work at Solid Ground and in our community, Solid Ground has created the Zanne Garland Fund to support the completion of the Sand Point Housing Capital Campaign. Please consider honoring and carrying forth Zanne’s leadership and service with a gift to this fund. Click here for our Sand Point Capital Campaign donation page, and if you choose to make a gift to the Zanne Garland Fund, please specify that your gift is in honor of Zanne.

 

Brettler Family Place will open in a few weeks, providing permanent housing for 51 families!

 

Transitional housing: a personal success story

Editor’s Note: For many women and children, escaping domestic violence (DV) is a root cause of their homelessness. Solid Ground’s Broadview Shelter and Transitional Housing program serves primarily women and their children who are working to survive domestic violence and rebuild stable lives. The following story was written by a recent resident of Broadview and our Sand Point Family Housing program. While she is not sharing her name in order to protect herself, she is very open about her experience. Her story is direct, honest and moving as it documents the difficult path DV survivors must walk to reclaim their lives. We are honored to be able to share it with you.

In September 2008, my daughter and I went into hiding from my daughter’s father by moving into Solid Ground’s Broadview Shelter. Despite the fact that this shelter was confidential, my ex had searched the neighborhood and found my car parked there. Because of this, the advocates at Broadview relocated us to a shelter in Kent.

Three months went by as my daughter and I resided safely in Kent. I spent every day trying to find some type of transitional housing; our time in the Kent shelter was strictly limited. My income level couldn’t afford us to pay market rent. We gratefully received public assistance and I also received SSI, as I have a disability. On top of that, I did part-time nanny work as much as possible. But with all of these, it was still not enough to pay market rent. My daughter and I don’t have family in the Northwest. I knew that our only viable choice was to find transitional housing. Continue reading

Skins, interiors & Community Center at Sand Point

All of the buildings on our Sand Point campus are now framed in, including the Community Center. Brick and siding is progressing on the 52 units of affordable housing for formerly homeless families, while interiors are making great progress as well. Some of the townhomes have cabinets installed and are feeling nearly finished! The apartments are still getting wired, insulated and buttoned up with wallboard. It is a real hive of activity, with completion date about four months away! Enjoy the photos…  And if you want to support the project, go to our website and click on the orange donate button! Thanks!

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Composite view of apartments from the west

A great place to live for people who need a home!

This Saturday is the Open House at our new housing development at Magnuson Park – Sand Point. This video explains more about the project, which initially will include Brettler Family Place, 52 apartments and townhomes for formerly homeless families, as well as a Community Center.

MORE INFORMATION:

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