New apartment building for homeless people opens in South Lake Union

Feb 5, 2013

King County has been working to reduce homelessness, but the need for housing and shelter is still large. In Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, 81 homeless people will soon move into a brand-new building called the Pat Williams Apartments.

The building is just a stone’s throw from Amazon’s campus in what’s become a very hot real estate market. But there are some properties that are less expensive – the non-profit group Plymouth Housing managed to buy a small lot east of Fairview and build an $18 million apartment complex. It will house homeless people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Executive director Paul Lambros says most of his agency’s apartment buildings serve homeless people trying to recover from addictions, but this building will offer more services to help everyone stay sober.

"We have several case managers on site here – a little more than we do in our other buildings – and then we’re looking at identifying some of the residents who are coming in who are really well on the road to recovery to sort of be mentors to the other tenants in the building," Lambros said.

Half the units will go to homeless military veterans. Lambros says most of the residents are on disability insurance and will pay one-third of their income on rent – an average of $200 a month.

Construction funding came from a number of sources – including the Seattle Housing Levy, the state Housing Trust Fund and federal tax credits, which are tax breaks that low-income housing developers can sell to investors to raise money for building costs. The building is named for Pat Williams, who helped design and build many of Plymouth’s properties.

On Friday, the Low Income Housing Institute will open an affordable housing complex in Seattle’s Central District with some units for homeless people. It will be named after local jazz legend Ernestine Anderson.