City grants Delridge DESC project ‘up to $4.45 million’

October 28, 2011 at 1:33 pm | In Delridge, DESC Delridge project, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 33 Comments

The proposed 75-apartment project on Delridge to provide housing for homeless people living with mental illness has been granted city money as well as state money, we have confirmed. According to Seattle Office of Housing spokesperson Julie Moore, the city grant to Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) is for “up to $4.45 million.” That follows the state’s decision to grant $500,000 to DESC’s Delridge Supportive Housing project, as reported here Wednesday.

When we first spoke with Moore yesterday, at which time she had confirmed the city funding decision but not the amount (which she provided today), she also said that her department wanted to clarify some of what was written on the “Concerned Neighbor” website we reported on yesterday, and she has provided a document that she says clarifies the city’s “siting policy,” which the anonymous author suggested did not synch with the DESC plan. Caveat: As with the “Concerned Neighbor” site info, we have no way to fact-check the info we’re pointing you to – but here it is, so you can make up your own mind.

A county group was set to potentially decide on DESC project funding yesterday, but delayed its decision after hearing from a group of Delridge residents who voiced concerns about the project. Meantime, DESC executive director Bill Hobson has answered questions we e-mailed him on Wednesday. He says they have not yet closed on the Delridge property (in the 5400 block); their architects are still working on a presentation for a not-yet-scheduled “Early Design Guidance” meeting of the Southwest Design Review Board. (We have requested a digital copy of a sketch that a Delridge attendee photographed at yesterday’s county meeting; if we don’t receive one, we’ll add that photo here.) Our note to Hobson was after word of the state funding but before word of the city funding; regarding the state funding, he says that the half-million dollars represent “around 3-4% of anticipated total project costs,” which would mean those costs are at least $12.5 million.

33 Comments

  1. C

    Comment by DESC = Compassion — 1:38 pm October 28, 2011 #

  2. What exactly is being clarified by the Office of Housing?
    .
    Normally, in a clarification document, I would expect to see an excerpt from the original source (in this case, the Concerned Neighbor post) which is incorrect or misleading, and then the clarifying statement by the source of record (Office of Housing) which identifies the error and/or states the correct position. The letter from the Office of Housing does none of these things, and while I appreciate the additional information, I remain no more illuminated than before.
    .
    No snark here, honest curiosity. Could the Office of Housing take a second run at it?

    Comment by mcbride — 3:15 pm October 28, 2011 #

  3. “A county group was set to potentially decide on DESC project funding yesterday”

    WSB – can you provide a link for how we can get in touch with the group that is making the decision?

    Comment by skeeter — 3:22 pm October 28, 2011 #

  4. Shame on everyone who is working so hard to keep this project an others like it from being completed. It keeps the stigma of mental health and substance abuse issues alive. This is just another thinly cloaked “not in my backyard” website by “Concerned Neighbor”.

    Comment by StaceyD — 3:38 pm October 28, 2011 #

  5. McB, I’m just relaying. I wish I had time to dive indepth but I don’t. When I contacted the Office of Housing yesterday, they said they had some info they wanted to share. I didn’t ask them for comment on “Concerned Neighbor” but they had already read our item yesterday about that website’s emergence and Julie Moore said “Oh, I was just going to call you anyway …” and launched into her explanation that she thought “Concerned Neighbor” had misinterpreted the siting policy. Something about census tract vs. census zone? I haven’t even had time to read her document – nor have I had time to read the multiple pages of Concerned Neighbor’s website. While we are fully aware from our site logs that WSB (like other news sites) is amply read in government quarters, it was kind of unusual for a government person to say something like that, but I had no reason to withhold her doc for further parsing by me – everybody interested in this issue in Delridge is far more of an expert on it than I, your neighborhood generalist, could hope to be …TR

    Comment by WSB — 3:57 pm October 28, 2011 #

  6. mcbride said it well; OH doc states policy, but doesn’t tell us how/why/based on what statistics, a waiver was granted? what specifically was in error in the Concerned Neighbor post? (I’m assuming OH/DESC folks read this, not addressing question to TR)
    ~
    thanks TR for providing links and way more detail than we could get otherwise; continue to be amazed at your ability to cover all that you do

    Comment by Diane — 5:03 pm October 28, 2011 #

  7. Oh, Tracy, no. That comment was wholly and completely intended for Office of Housing. Further, I understand how complicated producing copy on short notice can be, and I really didn’t intend to offend anyone.
    .
    I don’t think there can be Enough clarification on this matter right now, and I appreciate Everyone’s effort to produce more than hyperbole in the interest of informed discussion.

    Comment by mcbride — 5:08 pm October 28, 2011 #

  8. “Concerned Neighbor’s” website dwells solely on statistics of poverty.
    It does not address violation of the Fair Housing Act, specifically discrimination based on future occupants with disabilities.

    From the Office of Housing link as provided by Tracy’s post above,
    “In accordance with national, state and local fair housing laws, OH disregards, in evaluating neighborhood support for the project, any opposition that appears to be based on characteristics of future residents of a project if discrimination based on such characteristics is prohibited.”

    -
    From the Federal Fair Housing Laws, “In the Sale and Rental of Housing: No one may take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap.”
    And,
    “Have a physical or mental disability (including hearing, mobility and visual impairments, chronic alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS Related Complex and mental retardation) that substantially limits one or more major life activities.”
    -
    Most of the WSB posts opposing DESC, have voiced opposition based on the future occupants who suffer “chronic mental illness” and “chronic alcoholism,” both of which are defined as “disabilities.”
    Ironically, the vocal opposition expressed on WSB
    may be the factor that allows a variance!

    Comment by DESC = Compassion — 7:41 pm October 28, 2011 #

  9. So what DESC = Compassion is trying to say in a veiled manner is if you disagree then you’re a bigot, and ha ha.

    Comment by I guess I'm heartless — 10:00 pm October 28, 2011 #

  10. There is another post at the “Concerned Neighbor” blog.

    http://aconcerneddelridgeneighbor.wordpress.com/2011/10/29/did-the-office-of-housing-answer-my-question-i-dont-think-so/

    Can anyone out there help with getting to the truth? I feel like the non-answer from the Office of Housing means that they don’t have information to disprove the results of the census data. If they do, I wish they would share it.

    Comment by Delridge Neighbor — 11:04 pm October 28, 2011 #

  11. Delridge is “one of our most amenity-rich neighborhoods in terms of transit, schools, parks and retail.”
    Delridge is hard to beat in terms of new schools parks and public infrastructure.
    New Schools: Denny, Sealth, Sanislo, Cooper, Highland Park. What other neighborhood can boast of such?
    Parks: New fields at Sealth, the old Denny site, Delridge’s newly rebuilt play fields, Highpoint, the skate park, the new park on 26th and Brandon, Longfellow Creek, newly acquired green spaces… the list goes on and on.
    Several new libraries serve this area as do several community centers.
    Bus service is comparable (not very good) to other areas of West Seattle.
    Retail is poor. But retail goes where the population supports it. You don’t see any retail grocery stores in other areas of West Seattle such as Arbor Heights, Highland Park, Fauntleroy, Puget Ridge, Pigeon Point, Alki, Beach Drive, Morningside Heights… In the past both Highpoint and Delridge (as well as most of the other neighborhoods listed) had groceries but they were not successful and closed.
    “aconcerneddelridgeneighbor’s” and “Delridge Neighbor’s” locked-focus on demographics ignores other elements that allow the waiver, specifically the “Fair Housing Laws” that are cited above.
    Simply put, we are not allowed to violate Fair Housing Laws due to census data.
    We are not allowed to exclude any group with disabilities, it is the law, and a compassionate one at that.

    Comment by DESC = Compassion — 9:48 am October 29, 2011 #

  12. “Simply put, we are not allowed to violate Fair Housing Laws due to census data.” sounds like an a priori/precrime argument. It’s like saying I will not allow race x in my restaurant and the restaurant has yet to be built, have I committed a crime? Good luck with your specious argument.

    Comment by I guess I'm heartless — 11:43 am October 29, 2011 #

  13. heartless, this is not my specious argument.
    It is the Office of Housing document, the same one that contains the info about census data.
    -
    heartless’s “a priori/precrime argument” could also apply to the census data. It’s like saying you cannot build housing for poor people because there are already too many poor people, but until the building is built and the poor move in, no law has been broken.
    -
    Both examples are cyclical, “specious arguments.”

    Comment by DESC = Compassion — 3:46 pm October 29, 2011 #

  14. Are there already clients lined up for this proposed facility? Are there homeless being denied housing, that are currently hoping to get in a unit? Just how do you propose to show locus standi for clients DESC hasn’t rounded up from downtown, that don’t know they want to be in this facility, that doesn’t exist. I fail to see how Federal Fair Housing applies.

    Comment by I guess I\'m heartless — 4:31 pm October 29, 2011 #

  15. There are thousands in seattle who are waiting on wait-lists to get into housing. They wait for years to try to get a unit they can afford. I only wish places like DESC could open more housing projects, more quickly.

    If you have real concerns talk to them directly!

    Comment by another neighbor — 9:39 pm October 30, 2011 #

  16. “There are thousands in seattle who are waiting on wait-lists to get into housing”
    Something the size of Robert Taylor homes or Cabrini green could handle that capacity maybe we should build something like that! Then we should advertise that we are indeed the most homeless friendly city in the nation so that more transients would come here for housing, and it would be better for everyone and the rest of the nation would love us! More subsidized housing yeah!!!!! Oh wait someone’s gonna have to pay for it. Hey ‘Another neighbor’ would you mind paying another $1000 a year in taxes, you can just give extra money to the IRS and king county they will gladly take it. The city can give $4.5 million to this but seatlle schools are cutting early learning programs to the tune of $5 million.

    I encourage you to come walk around the proposed site at around midnight, spend sometime at the our wonderful amenities such as the two convenience stores, the used tire lot and the washing machine repair shop with its lovely broken down assortment of washers and driers strewn across the lot. The other “amenities rich” areas of delridge you’ll have to drive to.

    Comment by I guess I\\\'m heartless — 9:38 am October 31, 2011 #

  17. “There are thousands in seattle who are waiting on wait-lists to get into housing.” something the size Cabrini Green or the Robert Taylor homes just might be what your looking for.

    “If you have real concerns talk to them directly!” I have. I might go to the next delridge forum but I think they’re gonna call it “A monologue from DESC”

    Comment by I guess I'm heartless — 10:14 am October 31, 2011 #

  18. DESC = Compassion – Your analysis of the ins-and-outs of the Delridge Neighborhoods District is shallow and incomplete. For example Puget Ridge and Highland Park have very little if any L or NC zoned land. They are not on a high-transit and single occupancy vehicle traveled corridor that is Delridge Way SW. They do not have a Neighborhood Plan. I could go on.
    -
    You and the Office of Economic Development are subscribing to old patterns of people’s behavior, and are not at all able to look beyond what was, or is. You lack vision, and are part of the problem that keeps a neighborhood ‘down’. You are old school.
    -
    I venture to say that if legendary compassionate people such as Martin Luther King and Ghandi were alive and we could connect them with the Dalai Lama and tour all three about Seattle, and ALL its neighborhoods, they would walk away after looking at the proposed DESC site on Delridge Way as being a disservice to the people being purportedly served by the DESC and a disservice to a neighborhood who cannot and should not have to bear anymore instability.
    -
    The insanity of all this is that somehow, out of a total of 2,552,546,304 +/- square feet of land that make up the city of Seattle, this 19,200 square foot chunk of land at 5434-44 Delridge Way SW is the only and best location for a facility to house mentally ill addicts and alcoholics. The fact that across Delridge Way from this location there are three beer/wine/loco selling convenience stores, a small public library, two pre-schools/daycares and less than one block to the south a soon to be reopened public school housing upwards of 1,000 elementary aged school children. And into this environment the DESC and others seem it wise to place individuals with severe mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction? Those issues alone ought to have raised a red flag with anyone who questions policy, government or organizations.
    -
    Thankfully, there are thinking and questioning members on the King County Regional Joint Recommendations Committee who upon hearing public testimony have cause to at least pause for a month to learn more before rushing to provide funding. Unfortunately, Rick Hooper, Director of the City of Seattle Office of Housing seems to have never questioned this proposed location that the DESC handed to him to rubber stamp. Unlike the KC Regional Joint Recommendations Committee, Hooper, in his role as Director, has sole authority over dispersing public funds to the DESC and other housing providers. Hence Hoopers recent granting of up to $4.45 million dollars tax dollars to the DESC.
    -
    Please, don’t try and convince me about how supportive type housing such as what the DESC develops is an amenity and positive for a neighborhood, its residents, children, economic development and jobs. If it were, we would find them located in neighborhoods of financial wealth and they would be clamoring for them. We would have seen them incorporated into the new Safeway across the street from Lafayette Elementary. The West Seattle Triangle would be home to at least a 200 room new supportive housing facility. They would be wrapped into Magnolia Village. They would be allowed to take over the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford. The old Queen Anne High School would have been converted into supportive housing versus condos. The soon to close Borders at U-Village would be converted. Broadmoor would donate the18th hole of the golf course and one would be built-into the expansion of Children’s Hospital. Don’t give me the bogus land values or zoning argument. If there is a will amongst this proclaimed compassionate people/city, there is a way.
    -
    However, it is a lot easier, simpler and much less disturbing to ones life to attend a DESC fundraiser at the Downtown Sheraton Hotel for $125 a chair, toss in thousand or more and go home to your safe and stable neighborhood and feel good about yourself.
    -
    I challenge any of the armchair compassionate people who have posted here who think that this is a good location for this type of facility to actually get out of that chair of yours and walk the alley and street behind 5434>5444 Delridge Way and tell me if you think this is still such a great spot. Walk up to the houses on 23rd Ave SW, some of which are in very tough shape, and tell the residents this project is good for their souls and spiritual life. Walk further south on these same alleys and streets and see the housing/apartment/rental stock in dire need of repair. Cross over and do the same on the west side of Delridge Way. Walk westward on Brandon to the creek and the woods. Spend time wandering about the empty Boren School. Go behind it. Feeling a bit geographically landlocked in the four block wide dell yet? If you are a true believer in your righteousness do it after dark and then come back and preach to me about compassion.
    -
    If you REALLY want to step up to the plate and put your ‘compassionate’ values on the line, offer to buy-out one of the families homes near the proposed project and then move in. No, no, no, don’t rent it out, live there. Other than that, its all talk, no action, and I have had enough of that bs.

    Comment by Been There — 11:59 am October 31, 2011 #

  19. Been There,
    Thanks for your long and passionate post.
    Please remember, to criticize the post not the person. “You lack vision, and are part of the problem that keeps a neighborhood ‘down,” does nothing to address the issue. Myself and others can agree to disagree, passionately, without becoming negative and personal.
    Please share your vision of the way the neighborhood should be. If you don’t then we could all be missing the answer.

    My analysis of the Delridge nieghborhood’s receiving far more civic funding stands, I was using the criteria defined as a neighborhood rich in terms of transit, schools, parks and retail.
    As I noted, it is rich in new parks and schools.
    What other neighborhood has received such publicly funded largesse? I merely pointed out that many other neighborhoods in West Seattle are no better served with transit or retail.
    I did not in any manner address zoning or neighborhood plans.
    Nor do I understand how “high-transit and single occupancy vehicle” applies or dis-applies?

    Those “legendary compassionate people” have left a legacy of followers…”Been There” could test his theory by going directly to those groups i.e. Buddists, NAACP and other spiritual organizations.
    They may have suggestions or even support the veiled NIMBY views so readily expressed here.
    I must note, though the omission of Jesus.
    But, what would Jesus do?

    If you have any proof to back up your charges against Rick Hooper “rubber stamping” and never critically examining the site, please provide it.

    Your litany of other sites for this made me laugh, especially the 18th Hole at Broadmoor.
    But most of these examples are not worth serious discussion as they are established, completed projects on private property. But of course any discussion has to address the money issue. The land on the 18th at Broadmoor might cost more than
    the whole $45,000,000…

    As for the Delridge Neighborhood, I am familar with it from growing up in the sixties, played basketball at Cooper and Boren and have chosen to invest and build in the neighborhood in the last few years.
    Delridge, while still a tough neighborhood, is far better off than it was a decade ago.
    Are the alleys in Delridge safe at night? No.
    But neither are the late night alleys around the Junction & Admiral or Alki Beach. WSB provides plenty of anecdotal information about West Seattle crimes and they are not exclusive to Delridge.

    Comment by DESC = Compassion — 2:23 pm October 31, 2011 #

  20. Once again DESC = Compassion enough with the NImBy indictments, you ask that people not “become negative and personal” then you refer to any opposition with pejoratives. You ask WWJD, well, he’d teach a man to fish rather than get the DESC booze van to deliver.

    Comment by I guess I\'m heartless — 3:10 pm October 31, 2011 #

  21. “heartless”
    Wrong again.
    If you utilize your lawyerly skills of reading you would realize that I was criticizing the the posts not the people.
    As you re-read, you will see that I am criticizing the content and character of the posts, the “NIMBY views” expressed, not those posting them.
    I ask again, WWJD to those with disabilities? Your reply somehow neglected to address the plight of the mentally ill.
    Given further thought, I believe that organizations like DESC are attempting to teach those with disabilities to fish.
    It is just that when try, other’s tell them, “Not in my pond.”

    Comment by DESC = Compassion — 10:02 pm October 31, 2011 #

  22. The use of the word nimby is debasing and your implementation of it seeks to categorically pigeonhole and assuage opposition. You may think you’re attacking someone’s “views” you’re actually casting negative aspersion on critics and making an ad hominem attacks by using nimby as an adjective. Here are some examples that connote a disparaging meaning, I’ve supplanted ‘nimby’ from your original statement with other adjectives to accentuate my point;
    “punk views so readily expressed here.”
    “idiotic views so readily expressed here.”
    “bigoted views so readily expressed here.”
    Sorry if I’ve “neglected to address” your concerns but my mother always told me to avoid entering into discussions with name callers.

    Comment by I guess I\'m heartless — 1:06 am November 1, 2011 #

  23. “heartless” admits that he has abandoned any attempt at discussion of the issue. He substitutes adjectives that were not used after realizing that he had not correctly read what was written.
    Of course his “mother told me” dodge appears only after the trumped up accusations on my use of adjectives, falls flat.
    Now he is refusing to address the weaknesses of his arguments that I raise.
    As a compassionate INMBY (also a pejorative?), I have been directly attacked in this forum as, “You lack vision, and are part of the problem that keeps a neighborhood ‘down’. You are old school.”
    What response do you have for those direct charges? You have only responded to my criticism of the thoughts by re-interpreting (wrongly) my adjectives, “actually casting negative aspersion on critics and making an ad hominem attacks (sic).”
    There are two local sides to this discussion, the INMBY side and the NIMBY side and it is clear where people stand through the arguments they make.
    I do enjoy ‘heartless’” dipping into his legal dictionary – “a priori/precrime,” “locus standi,” “ad hominem,” in attempt to baffle us legal Latin all the while throwing out weak arguments and unsubstantiated charges that evaporate under any response.
    And once again ironically, in his last post he does exactly what his mother told him not to do.
    “heartless” has played exactly the same card he accuses me of playing by “casting negative aspersion on critics and making an ad hominem attacks.”
    This while steadfastly refusing to address the issue!

    Comment by DESC = Compassion — 9:12 am November 1, 2011 #

  24. I just want to make sure we’re clear on this:
    .
    The School District is planning to reopen Boren Junior High School, RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the DESC site.
    .
    Either the City is fine with kids being immediately next to a large building full of “at-risk” people with known alcohol and drug problems, or someone needs to talk to someone else.

    Comment by Mel — 11:59 am November 1, 2011 #

  25. DESC’s harm reduction policy which tacitly condones drug use by its clients/residents would be incompatible with the drug free zone set up for schools. I believe Boren junior high would be within 1000 feet of the proposed facility. I’ll measure it out tonight.

    Comment by I guess I'm heartless — 3:47 pm November 1, 2011 #

  26. I hope Julie Moore is an OH intern because this response is amateur. How can a department that relies on a publicly voted on levy have such a sloppy response to the public about an investment? The no response-response. Bureaucracy at it’s worst.

    Comment by OH Amateur Hour — 7:23 pm November 1, 2011 #

  27. Mel, the Boren School is a couple of blocks to the south. There is a preschool across the street at Brandon and Delridge and directly to the north is Community Care which houses a program for developmentally disabled children. Not sure these are facts that would impact the placement of this project but it is true there are children around.

    Comment by Karrie Kohlhaas — 9:45 am November 2, 2011 #

  28. From lot line to lot line the Boren school is approximately 707 feet, plus or minus a few yards according to my gps pedometer.

    Comment by I guess I\'m heartless — 10:22 am November 2, 2011 #

  29. New information available on the Delridge Community Forum website includes copies of the funding application. Read it fellow citizens — this project is well intentioned but poorly conceived, requiring multiple waivers and departures from the laws of our city.
    http://delridgeforum.blogspot.com/p/fact-sheet.html
    See that the Office of Housing waived the siting policy requirement, and that the Department of Planning and Development has indicated that departures from development standards may be allowed. How many standards do we have to bend before people start questioning whether this is a worthwhile use of $14.5 million of scarce public money? Maybe this just isn’t the right place for this project.

    Comment by Delridge Neighbor — 2:16 pm November 2, 2011 #

  30. Also, there is a new post by Concerned Delridge Neighbor with some questions for the Office of Housing:
    http://aconcerneddelridgeneighbor.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/is-the-office-of-housing-really-knowingly-concentrating-extreme-poverty-in-one-area-of-delridge-new-documents-show-this-may-be-true/
    Now is the time to raise questions, before the land is purchased with the funding from the Office of Housing bridge loan. Deadline for the purchase is December 1, 2011. It is our duty to hold our public agents accountable.

    Comment by Delridge Neighbor — 2:20 pm November 2, 2011 #

  31. Bravo to ConcernedDelridgeNeighbor for being so meticulous in data gathering. Whoever you are, I am very impressed. Your facts do indeed check out. I stayed up until 2am last night reading every single document in the DESC State Funding App. and came to the same obvious conclusion you did: this project is clearly not in compliance with the Poverty Dispersion Policy. Sorting through those docs was a beast!
    -
    The “hunch” neighbors had was correct in this matter. The OH should be checked for their lack of transparency and authenticity when providing/withholding/misleading information to our community. Click the link below to find out more.
    -
    It should be noted that the documents referred to were obtained through a Public Records Request. This was not information provided to us openly by the Office of Housing or DESC. It does feel to me that we were kept in the dark about facts that could have an impact on this community and were even intentionally misled by some people in positions of decision making power.
    -
    Link to the post below to learn how the project is in violation of the Dispersion Policy and how Office of Housing Director Rick Hooper granted a waiver of this violation to DESC on July 21, 2011.
    -
    See my comment below the post with additional information. http://aconcerneddelridgeneighbor.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/is-the-office-of-housing-really-knowingly-concentrating-extreme-poverty-in-one-area-of-delridge-new-documents-show-this-may-be-true/#comment-20

    Comment by Karrie Kohlhaas — 4:09 pm November 2, 2011 #

  32. This is not a transparent process by any means. For those of us who attended the Regional Joint Recommendations Committee (RJRC) meeting at Mercer Island were able to witness firsthand how this project is being rubber stamped without any serious thought or input from the community. We were fortunate that the vote for this project was delayed by several members of the RJRC due to they did not have all of the facts. Hopefully there will be more meetings regarding this project so the community and those members of the RJRC who delayed the vote can work together to have the project built elsewhere.

    Jack

    Comment by jack — 9:49 pm November 2, 2011 #

  33. @Jack
    Good points. It is no surprise though since the community meeting for re-striping Fauntleroy was even worse.

    The City only scheduled the meeting to TELL us what will happen even though many attendees who carved time out of their day to attend actually thought that their input would make a difference.

    BTW – They used Stone Way as their traffic model for a highway that serves a major Ferry rout. I wouldn’t expect much better planning for the Delridge Community.

    Comment by Motorbike mike — 10:31 am November 10, 2011 #

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