According to Bill Rumpf, president of Mercy Housing, Paul Allen's $46 million donation is the largest ever for a single housing or homelessness project in the state of Washington. Mercy will partner with Mary’s Place and the Refugee Women’s Alliance to run the complex. The city's Office of Housing is also contributing $5 million to the 8-story project which is located a block away from the Mt. Baker Link light rail stop. Another $10.7 million for the project was realized from a housing tax credit.
Allen's moves follows on the heels of Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos' announcement about spending $2 billion on helping homeless families, as well as creating a network of nonprofit preschools in poor communities. Half the units in the building are set aside for homeless families. The other half will be for lower income families making $27,100 to $54,150 annually for a family of three. Mercy Housing is looking to public and private funding to help defray the cost of running the facility,
The bottom floor of the complex will be a day resource center for families, where anyone can access services intended to divert people from homelessness, get help finding child care and attend after-school programs. But they don’t just want homeless families walking through the door, according to Pearl Leung, external affairs director at Vulcan, Inc., Paul Allen’s development company.
As part of the planning for the project, Mercy staff interviewed 45 formerly homeless families, and one of the things the team heard was that homeless families don’t want to feel quarantined away from the neighborhood. Mercy Housing is hoping to draw in families from Beacon Hill and South Seattle with play groups. “The dream for this is that families in the area just see this as a resource center for families,” Leung said.