Affordable Homeownership Development Completed in Central District

by Elizabeth Turnbull

On Tuesday morning, local leaders and community members celebrated the completion of an affordable housing development in the Central District that specifically aims to make owning a home financially viable for residents.

As part of a concerted action against gentrification in the Central District and to combat rapidly rising housing costs, the Village gardens the development consists of six market-priced units and 10 affordable homes.

Local leaders such as Mayor Bruce Harrell, Councilor Teresa Mosqueda and Africatown Community Land Trust CEO K. Wyking Garrett spoke about the significance of the buildings and the community’s efforts to bring them to life.

“The ability to homeownership in this city is one of the only ways we can continue to fight the racist history of redlining that still plagues cities like Seattle across the country,” Mosqueda said. “Homeownership is the antidote not only to redlining, but also to the racist bank lending strategies, the zoning covenants that exist in the city, and the inability for people to lift themselves out of generational poverty. .”

Africatown Community Land Trust CEO K. Wyking Garrett speaks during a ceremony April 26, 2022 celebrating the completion of the Village Gardens housing development. (Photo: Susan Fried)

The majority of affordable housing is available for residents who earn less than 80% of the area’s median income, and two of the units are available for people who earn 60% of the median income and are experiencing housing insecurity.

The homes are located at the corner of Yakima Avenue South and South Irving Street, on land provided by the City of Seattle, which provided financing alongside the state and the Federal Home Loan Bank.

Homestead Community Land Trust, Edge Developers and Africatown Community Land Trust played a key role in creating the project itself.

At a time in Seattle’s history when many homes cost close to a million dollars, affordable condo units in Village Gardens range from around $230,000 to $300,000. For the time being, housing at market price has not been priced on The village garden website.

As well as being affordable, the development has prioritized sustainability and environmental friendliness, as all units aim to meet a specific environmental standard and are fossil fuel free.

Gentrification in the Central District—following a history of redlining that has prevented many families of color from buying homes in the district—has specifically contributed to a decline in black homeownership, and units could providing a small push against similar moves in the present day as people with historical ties to the neighborhood will be offered a first chance to buy a home.

Photo showing TraeAnna Holiday speaking into a microphone on a podium.
TraeAnna Holiday, Creative Director of King County Equity Now, speaks at a ceremony April 26, 2022 celebrating the completion of the Village Gardens housing development. (Photo: Susan Fried)

TraeAnna Holiday, a local activist, creative director of King County Equity Now and well-known host of Converge Media, spoke about her personal experience and the change and gentrification she has seen since.

“My mother and I were going down on the 23 [Ave] for years and just crying because we just didn’t recognize it as our city. Vacation said. “[This housing] is an example of so many that we hope to return to, with all the new policies and legislation that are passed, being intentional to do things that repair this past damage, literally providing reparations across the land and through projects like this one .”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify that the history of redlining is preventing families of color from buying homes.

Elizabeth Turnbull is a journalist with reporting experience in the United States and the Middle East. She has a passion for covering human-centric issues and doing it consistently.

📸 The featured image: (Left to right) Seattle City Council Member Teresa Mosqueda, Africatown Community Land Trust CEO K. Wyking Garrett, King County Equity Now Creative Director TraeAnna Holiday, and Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell attend an April 26, 2022 celebration for the completion of Village Gardens, an affordable homeownership development in Seattle’s Central District. (Photo: Susan Fried)

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