Environmental Works News April 2017

Happy Earth Day! And thank you for your ongoing interest in community design for Washington nonprofits serving people in need.

Read on for updates on an exciting new project with Community House in Seattle’s Central District; and news on our 2017 GiveBig partner, St. Vincent de Paul-Georgetown. And please join us for our annual Earth Day Block Party, celebrating the anniversary of our founding on Earth Day in 1970, outside our offices this Friday!

  • New Affordable Housing and Mental Health Services in the Central District
  • Announcing EW’s GiveBig 2017 Partner: St. Vincent de Paul’s Georgetown Food Bank!
  • EW Earth Day Block Party, Fri., April 21, 11 am – 5 pm

New Affordable Housing and Mental Health Services in the Central District

Central Seattle-based Community House Mental Health Agency helps people with severe and persistent mental illness increase their social, vocational, and life skills, with recovery as the program’s overall goal. Community House has been providing community-based treatment, education, and housing to people with mental illness since 1976.

As a long-time Seattle social services provider, Community House knows how crucial affordable housing is to community well-being. In 2014, Community House and Environmental Works partnered to redevelop Community House’s former east Capitol Hill headquarters into the Caroline W. building, with studio apartments and common space for 44 individuals recovering from homelessness and chronic mental illness.

Their latest collaboration with EW is a large-scale redevelopment project at their current 23rd and Jackson headquarters, which will also include adjacent land they are purchasing. Pending a requested upzone pursuant to the Housing, Affordability, and Livability Agenda, the project will add up to 128 affordable housing units to the Central District. Seventy-five units will be workforce housing for people earning 60% or less of median income, with the remaining fifty-three units for extremely low-income, formerly homeless Community House clients. This will help address the housing affordability crisis and economic displacement which have hit the Central District especially hard, forcing thousands of long-term residents to relocate elsewhere.

The 23rd and Jackson project will include ground-floor retail, to preserve a current site use; and expanded program, office, and meeting space for Community House. The intersection of 23rd and Jackson features bicycle lanes, a very active pedestrian presence, easy transit access, and vehicular connections to surrounding neighborhoods. This project will support all of those forms of access and use through providing transparency, encouraging pedestrian activity at street level, and offering car and bicycle parking that exceed code requirements and current facilities.

Community House and EW are committed to an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible redevelopment, which will respect the neighborhood’s architectural context, history, and current uses. Collaborating with us on these critical goals are a great team of partners: Ally Community Development (development consultants), Coterra Engineering (civil engineers), Thomas Rengstorf Associates (landscape architects), Graham Baba Architects (retail consultants), Swenson Say Faget (structural engineers), Sider & Byers (mechanical engineers), and Glumac (electrical engineers). With the design review process underway, partners hope to be able to break ground by the end of the year.

Announcing EW’s GiveBig 2017 Partner: St. Vincent de Paul’s Georgetown Food Bank!

EW is excited to partner with St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle/King County for GiveBig 2017 on May 10, to raise money for pre-design services for SVDP’s growing food bank and other critical social service facilities in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood.

St. Vincent de Paul has operated a food bank in Georgetown, a food desert with no neighborhood grocery store, since 2002. Growing income disparity and economic displacement have led the number of clients SVDP-Georgetown serves to skyrocket, from 100 per week in 2002 to 900-1,000 per week in 2017.

SVDP has been working overtime to keep up with demand. In addition to operating a grocery-store model food bank open four days a week, the Georgetown facility now also offers case management, medical services, clothing distribution, and haircuts.

SVDP’s 76-year-old food bank building requires extensive improvements to stay intact, to be able to house their continually growing and evolving services. A wall nearly collapsed last year, just one of many structural concerns that arise on a regular basis. And now that a new homeless encampment has opened in Georgetown, less than a mile from SVDP, SVDP is eager to add shower and laundry facilities to meet these new residents’ needs.

Every dollar raised through GiveBig 2017 will make possible assessment of improved ways to use SVDP’s space, identification and prioritization of facility repairs and improvements, and development of preliminary plans and budgets (for work including the addition of shower facilities) that will enable SVDP to continue providing critical, responsive social services in Georgetown for decades to come. Your GiveBig donations to EW on May 10 will be matched by EW and the Board up to $2,500, so they will support even more pre-design work at no cost to SVDP.

Please donate at EW’s GiveBig 2017 page on May 10 to make this amazing work happen!

EW Earth Day Block Party, Fri., April 21, 11 am – 5 pm

You are cordially invited to our annual Earth Day Block Party this Friday, April 21, 11 am – 5 pm, outside our offices in Fire Station 7 at 15th Ave. E. and E. Harrison St.! You’ll be able to meet a great group of green and community-minded nonprofits, drop off electronics at our electronics recycling drive and food at our food drive (benefiting W. Seattle Food Bank and NW Harvest), enjoy delicious food, and frolic with some sidewalk chalk and bubbles.

Nonprofits attending include Alleycat Acres Urban Farming Collective, Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, Forterra, Relay for Life of Capitol Hill (American Cancer Society), Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, and WA Trails Association. Delicious food will be available for purchase courtesy of Patty Pan Grill and Nuflours Bakery.

Hope to see you Friday!