Gardner House in Seattle, WA, has won a 2020 Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award in the Special Needs Category.
Developed by Mercy Housing Northwest, Gardner House provides 95 new affordable homes and quality services for families, formerly homeless individuals, and people with disabilities. The Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (Housing Credit) was used to finance this property, with syndication provided by U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation. The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and City of Seattle were also instrumental in bringing the property to fruition.
This innovative partnership provides 28 permanent supportive housing units for homeless families, and 19 “Moving On” units for formerly homeless families that previously lived in service-rich housing or shelter but no longer need high service levels, freeing up service-intensive permanent supportive housing elsewhere. On the ground floor, the Allen Family Center provides resources for Gardner House families, as well as families in the community who are at risk for homelessness, including housing assistance, childcare navigation, employment preparation, and basic needs assistance. Gardner House also provides case management to formerly homeless families.
Gardner House provides much needed family-sized housing and services close to transit and schools: over 60 percent of the apartments have two or three bedrooms, and ten homes are reserved for large families. With over 130 children living in the building, and 70 under five years old, the high-quality services provided in Gardner House are focused on educational success, out-of-school activities, and community-building. Two units are designed to be licensed in-home childcare units to provide affordable, convenient childcare for Gardner House residents. Gardner House also includes a secure playground, outdoor courtyard, computer lab, and large community room.
Gardner House offers residents easy access to the Mt. Baker Link Light Rail station and the Mount Baker Transit Center, which connect to downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill, the University of Washington, the airport, and more – making jobs and educational opportunities accessible. Primary and secondary schools, grocery stores, and pharmacies are all within a half-mile of Gardner House. In an area that is classified by the City of Seattle as both High Displacement Risk and High Opportunity, the location is ideal for long-term, affordable housing. The building exceeds the Washington State Evergreen Sustainable Design and includes a large rooftop photovoltaic solar system to help offset electricity usage.
See a time-lapse of the property’s construction below:
Statement from U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
In 2020, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) stated, “Congratulations to the winners of the Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award from the state of Washington. Affordable housing is such a crisis across the United States, and here in Washington state we have been working hard to find solutions. I’m so proud of the work the awardees are doing to help create stronger and healthier communities. [Gardner House, Mercy Magnuson Place and The Tony Lee] will add more than 300 combined affordable units in our state and provide critical services to their communities.”
In 2021, Senator Cantwell also provided a congratulatory video, below, in which she stated, “I want to thank the Low Income Housing Institute and Mercy Housing for providing critical, needed affordable housing to people in the state of Washington… These projects together provide 313 units of affordable housing in Seattle along with supportive services to help their residents succeed. The fact that the three winners are from Washington speaks volumes about the work that people in our state are doing to address the affordable housing crisis… I am proud to continue to lead federally efforts to expand the Affordable Housing Tax Credit, which helps fund 95 percent of the affordable housing developments in the country… as the winners from Seattle prove, affordable housing transforms lives and it helps build stronger communities.”
Statement from U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) congratulated Gardner House on their 2020 Edson Award, saying, “Washington state was already facing a housing crisis well before this pandemic, and the pandemic has made the need for affordable housing even more dire for so many across our state. That’s why I appreciate the innovative work being done by the Low Income Housing Institute and Mercy Housing to support people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity in Washington state, and I’m glad to see them recognized for that work with these Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Awards. The Tony Lee, Mercy Magnuson Place, and Gardner House have helped hundreds of people and families in need from across Seattle find a place to call home. As we all work together to end our housing crisis once and for all, I’m going to keep pushing for the federal investments in affordable housing that we need to keep people safe, secure, and housed across Washington state.”
Statement from U.S. Representative Adam Smith (D-WA-09)
“In Washington state and across the country, there are far too many people who cannot afford their rent due to a lack of affordable housing. As individuals and families spend a disproportionate amount of their income on rent, they are left with less to spend on other basic needs and expenses like health care, transportation, and food,” said Representative Adam Smith (D-WA-09). “Fortunately, there are organizations in Seattle like Mercy Housing Northwest working to provide new affordable homes and quality services for families, formerly homeless individuals, and people with disabilities. I am pleased to hear that Mercy Housing Northwest’s Gardner House has been recognized with this award for their exemplary use of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) to provide affordable housing for those in need. This is a great example of why we should expand and strengthen the LIHTC to spur affordable housing throughout the Puget Sound region.”
Representative Smith also submitted a statement for the Congressional Record, which can be read here or seen on the Congress.gov website here.
Hear more from Representative Smith: