Last July, everyone at Mercy Housing Northwest (MHNW) celebrated the grand opening of Mercy Othello Plaza — our newest family community of 108 affordable homes and MHNW’s headquarters office in Southeast Seattle. New residents, project partners, and community supporters helped us commemorate this special occasion. We’re so grateful to celebrate our one-year anniversary. It’s been an amazing year at our new home here in the Othello neighborhood, and we’d like to share what we’ve been up to:
A Community Collaborative
MHNW joined forces with HomeSight, On Board Othello, and many other local groups to help plan and sponsor a neighborhood marketing campaign titled O! Hello Othello!. This project involved the installation of banners with the new neighborhood logo and slogan in each of the 42 languages spoken in the area. These culturally inclusive banners now hang from light poles across the center of Othello. This community-driven effort places Othello on the map as a cultural destination while increasing visibility and a sense of community for this exciting neighborhood. As one of the most diverse neighborhoods in our region, MHNW is proud to call Othello home!
What an Honor
Mercy Othello Plaza was recognized both as a 2018 Gold Nugget Merit Award recipient for Best Affordable Housing Community and a finalist in the 2018 Affordable Housing Finance Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards in the Family category. A special thanks to all of our partners and funders on this development. Affordable Housing Finance subscribers can vote for winners through August 3!
A Healthy Home
In partnership with University of Washington Student Health Initiative for Access (UW-SHIFA), we offer free health services at our onsite health clinic. One Saturday a month, residents and the surrounding community can visit with a physician at the Othello Outreach Clinic to obtain blood pressure and glucose checks, as well as vision exams. In addition, the Somali Health Board hosts health educational sessions during clinic time, of which 122 individuals have participated since the fall of 2017. Since the clinic opened in October, 65 individuals received health screenings or paid a visit to the physician during clinic hours.
Congrats to Our Little Grads!
Through a partnership with Culturally Appropriate Responsive Education (CARE) Center, we offer an onsite kindergarten readiness program. Half of the inaugural class consists of Mercy Othello Plaza residents, while the other half are from the local community. The teachers focus on preparing the kids for kindergarten with a robust curriculum that includes learning the alphabet and numbers, story time, and active playtime.
As a provider of affordable housing, we recognize the importance of pairing housing with early learning programs. As a pilot program, CARE Center launched their first-ever program at Mercy Othello Plaza. It was so successful that they plan to return next school year and are considering adding a second program at another Mercy Housing community. Last month, a graduation ceremony was held for the first 13 kids who participated in CARE Center’s inaugural program!