Innovative affordable housing design for homeless youth, workers

KING 5's Ryan Takeo reports.

An affordable housing property is getting some national attention for its innovative design.

The Marion West is a mixed-use affordable housing property in the University District that won two Gold Nugget Grand Awards at the 2017 Pacific Coast Builders Conference, including “Residential Housing Project of the Year”.

The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) and Runberg Architecture Group collected the awards in San Diego.

The Marion West’s 2nd floor is dedicated to 20 units of permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless youths. This means they are given some wraparound services like an on-site case worker. Residents pay whatever 30% of their income is. The nonprofit YouthCare runs the floor.

The 3rd and 4th floors are 29 units of workforce housing. Units cost residents $640 per month, according to Sharon Lee of LIHI.

The 7,400 square foot rooftop has an urban garden residents can use. The rooftop also has downtown Seattle skyline views.

Downstairs houses the University District Food Bank. Some of the rooftop garden provides fresh produce for the food bank. Also downstairs, Street Bean Coffee is an apprentice program for formerly homeless youth.

The building cost $15 million for the land purchase and construction, said Lee.

“Really it’s about the culmination of all those uses put together that create this synergy of this space,” said Brian Runberg, principal at Runberg Architecture Group.

William Sandoval has only lived at The Marion West a couple of months, but it already is starting to feel like home to him.

Sandoval, who’s on Social Security, said he used to live in motels.

“I’ve paid as much as 90 percent of my social security income per month in these hotels,” said Sandoval, describing life as ‘survival mode.'

“Now I have the ability to buy clothes, buy my own food and in a sense feel viable again as a human being which is really the greatest gift of all,” he continued.

“Can you imagine that?” he asked rhetorically.

© 2017 KING-TV


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