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Housing center funded by Paul Allen, Seattle will shelter more than 90 families

Paul Allen and the City of Seattle are spending more than $40 million on a family housing center in South Seattle.

A building primarily funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen will house 94 families in Seattle's Mount Baker neighborhood.

The Mount Baker Family Housing and Resource Center will be built using $30 million from Allen, along with another $5 million from Seattle's Office of Housing and $10.7 million through a housing tax credit. A groundbreaking ceremony for the building at 2870 S. Hanford St. was held Tuesday.

When complete, the building will feature an 8,000-square-foot resource center on the ground floor. It will be staffed with onsite service providers.

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Money to fund building operations will come from a mix of public and private sources. The city has committed to helping maintain and operate the building.

The building will feature 37 one-bedroom units and 42 two-bedroom units. There will be 16 three-bedroom apartments.

Twenty-eight units will be saved for permanent supportive housing for homeless families who are most vulnerable. Nineteen units will be for homeless families who have become more stable and no longer need as much support. A total of 47 will offer affordable housing for low-wage families earning 30-60 percent of the area's median income. One unit will be saved for an onsite manager.

The building is expected to be open by early 2020.

The latest Seattle/King County homeless count identified 782 homeless families with children. Of the 2,624 people in those families, 1,583 were children under 18. That was actually a 7 percent decrease over the previous year.

But while the number of homeless families decreased, the number of people living on the streets increased. There was an approximate 4 percent increase in the homeless population overall in King County, rising to 12,112. The count also found a worsening problem of people living unsheltered in tents, cars, and RVs - 70 percent who were in Seattle at the time.

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