Residents move into their new homes as Mercy Housing Northwest’s 46th property opens its doors
Mercy Housing Northwest (MHNW), a not-for-profit affordable housing provider, announced the grand opening of its newest property, Emerald City Commons, on Sunday. Bill Rumpf, MHNW President and Harvey Drake, Urban Impact President presided over the official ribbon cutting ceremony. Rick Hooper, Director of the City of Seattle Office of Housing, Gregory Davis of the Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition, and members of the community joined in the commemorative celebration.
Mercy Housing Northwest and Urban Impact partnered to create Emerald City Commons, a new mixed use community featuring 61 one, two and three bedroom apartments affordable to limited income households and a brand new Rainier Health and Fitness Center, operated by Urban Impact, located on the first floor.
In addition to affordable apartments, the building will feature a robust resident services program to link residents with employment and educational opportunities, provide health and wellness programming, and assist residents in maintaining their financial stability. The property was financed with a Low Income Housing Tax Credit investment provided by Union Bank, and funding from the Washington State Housing Trust Fund, the City of Seattle, the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund, as well as private donors and foundations.
“Emerald City Commons will provide its residents with safe and affordable housing to fulfill this most basic need, and allow them to focus on things like gaining new career skills, helping their children do well in school and becoming involved in their communities,” said Bill Rumpf, MHNW Regional President. “With the nonprofit fitness center on the ground floor and our partnerships with local clinics, the project will be a model for fostering good health”
With the cost of rental housing rising in Seattle faster than any large metro area in the country, many residents struggle to find safe, high-quality, affordable housing. And while there is currently a boom in apartment construction economically challenged neighborhoods like Southeast Seattle are often overlooked in urban revitalization efforts.
Urban Impact, a local Rainier Valley nonprofit initiated the project with the goal of making a lasting impact in their neighborhood. They purchased an abandoned lot and opened a gym in a portable trailer. Their dream of expanding the gym and building desperately needed affordable housing began in 2008 and blossomed when they partnered with Mercy Housing Northwest. Within 1 year, the team had secured adequate financing and broke ground on the new community.
“When our church partner Emerald City Bible Fellowship bought the land wih help from their denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church, we began dreaming about how we could use this resource in service to our community,” explained Steve Bury, Urban Impact’s Executive Director and member of Emerald City Bible Fellowship. “The opportunity to provide affordable housing, access to a quality fitness center, and walk alongside our new neighbors is very exciting. As a small church and non-profit partner this project has been a huge step of faith and we could not have accomplished it without God’s provision and the involvement of Mercy Housing Northwest and support of so many key partners along the way.”
The development was made possible by a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit investment and construction financing from Union Bank. “Union Bank is pleased to invest in Emerald City Commons to help make affordable housing a reality for families in the Rainier Beach community,” said Union Bank Vice President Bryan Friend, Community Development Finance division. “We are proud to support the mission and partnership between Mercy Housing Northwest and Urban Impact to help ensure a thriving and healthy community for the residents of Emerald City Commons.”
“Emerald City Commons is a lift to the Rainier Beach neighborhood,” said Gregory Davis, Board Chair of Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition and former Urban Impact Executive Director. “The partnership between Mercy Housing, Urban Impact and many others is inspiring. Its contribution to helping us implement the Rainier Beach Neighborhood plan is immeasurable.”
About Mercy Housing
Mercy Housing is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit affordable housing organizations. Mercy Housing Northwest has developed and currently manages more than 1,870 affordable homes in 45 properties located in 16 Washington Counties, serving more than 4,000 residents daily. We have engaged in more than $100 million in development activity in Washington State since 2009. We are redefining affordable housing by creating a stable foundation where our residents can explore their potential, supported by practical resident programs such as health classes, financial education, employment initiatives, parenting and after-school programs for children. Visit Mercy Housing online at www.mercyhousingnorthwest.org.
About Urban Impact
Urban Impact’s mission is to break the cycle of social, material, and spiritual poverty in urban neighborhoods. Serving nearly 2000 youth and adults yearly, Urban Impact has been a consistent presence in Seattle’s Rainier Valley since 1987. To combat this difficult, intergenerational cycle of poverty, we develop relational programs that build capacity, raise leaders, and meet tangible community needs in five Program Areas: education, health, youth development, family engagement and economic development. Visit Urban Impact online at www.urbanimpactseattle.org.
View more images of Emerald City Commons here.