Apartment Adoption Day at Delridge DESC, before tomorrow’s grand opening and Wednesday’s move-ins

(Photos by WSB co-publishers Tracy Record & Patrick Sand)

While a public grand-opening ceremony is planned tomorrow for Cottage Grove Commons, the new DESC-operated building in North Delridge, Wednesday is the really big day. That’s when its 66 formerly homeless start moving in.

Coming from homelessness, they have little to bring along, so on Sunday, the new studio apartments were made ready for them by the efforts of dozens of volunteers, whose work was just beginning when we stopped by.

The volunteers’ work on Sunday was part of “Apartment Adoption Day.” While DESC made sure each unit has basic furniture like a bed, a table, and chairs, the “adopters” brought items such as bedding, dishes, and cleaning supplies:

As noted on the one-sheet provided to volunteers, “The idea is that when the new resident first sees their apartment, that it looks like home.” Two-thirds of the “adoptions,” DESC says, were taken on by two organizations – Starbucks and Burien-based Genesis Global Spiritual Center, and the others were thanks to various individuals and smaller groups.

We found out about “Apartment Adoption Day” when asking DESC about an opportunity to look inside Cottage Grove Commons before tomorrow’s ceremony and open house. So in addition to finding out about the volunteer efforts, that’s what we did, starting with the gathering spaces on the ground floor.

Upstairs, the apartment we were shown was, DESC staffers explained, a little bigger than most, as it’s one of the fully accessible units, with enough room to maneuver a wheelchair.

As with other DESC residential buildings, there are features to maximize safety for people living alone with challenges such as mental illness – drains in bathroom floors in case water is left running, automatic shutoff for stoves in case they are left on too long. Each apartment has a two-way intercom to the front-desk staff downstairs in case the resident needs help or needs to be checked on.

As has been reiterated in many discussions, it’s not a jail – residents are not only allowed outside, they’re encouraged to leave their units. The courtyard on the south side of the building has benches:

There are gathering spaces inside, too. One meal a day will be served; there’s a big commercial-type kitchen on the ground floor:

Other meals are up to residents. When Cottage Grove Commons’ residents are all moved in, DESC tells us, it will be housing 1,000 residents at its properties around the area – “permanent housing,” as a staffer puts it, not shelters. And 66 beds will be opened up at shelters as these permanent residents move in, starting Wednesday.

In the meantime, you are welcome to their open house tomorrow – a two-part event with the grand-opening celebration 2:30-4 pm, and a community open house/touring opportunity 4:30-7 pm, 5444 Delridge Way SW.

Our coverage of the project, dating back to the first community discussions in summer 2011, is archived here.

12 Replies to "Apartment Adoption Day at Delridge DESC, before tomorrow's grand opening and Wednesday's move-ins"

  • Fred Penwell December 16, 2013 (3:34 pm)

    You may not think so but it is tax money that is well spent.

  • Gimme December 16, 2013 (3:39 pm)

    I want a free apartment. How do I get one of these?

  • Mike D. December 16, 2013 (5:27 pm)

    I ask that anyone attending the opening or assisting with the move-in’s of the Delridge branch of the Downtown Emergency Service Center please take a short walk along the length of 23rd Avenue SW from Brandon to Juneau. 23rd is just one block East of Delridge Way SW and behind the DESC building.


    Take a very close look at the extremely poor condition of 23rd Avenue. Note the crumbling and collapsing chip-sealed surface. The lack of drainage, curbs, sidewalks, planting strips and street trees. Be aware that it is much worse during rainy periods where household and property flooding is common. Recent efforts by the neighborhood to obtain funding to bring this section of city street above its third world condition were stymied. If funding had been forthcoming, it would have provided some mitigation to adjacent homeowners who without a doubt have seen a decrease in their property values since the DESC project was announced.


    I am hoping that the same level of vocal, political and funding support that the Downtown Emergency Service Center Delridge facility has been provided will be forth coming to provide funding for the street improvements needed for the home owners of 23rd Ave SW who really are the ones enduring the true economic cost of the DESC project.

  • Genesee Hill December 16, 2013 (6:42 pm)

    Anytime something nice happens, someone always has to complain. Human nature, I guess.

  • Ms. Sparkles December 17, 2013 (11:50 am)

    Genesee Hill I don’t think Mike D.’s comment is fairly dismissed as a simple complaint. He brings up a valid point about limited resources and questions how they’re used.

    While saddling this neighborhood with subsidised housing for people who by definition of the qualification for the housing means they’ll always need assistance – always be a burden on society, Society should have given the neighborhood somthing in return for being “hardest hit” by this development. Why shouldn’t neighborhood improvement / declining property value mitigation funds be a package deal for this sort of development?

    I really don’t think that’s asking too much.

  • Diane December 17, 2013 (12:52 pm)

    thanks Ms. Sparkles; agree
    @Genesee Hill; Mike D is not “complaining”; this is his neighborhood and he’s been very active advocating for improvements in his community for many years; like he said, “please take a short walk along the length of 23rd Avenue SW from Brandon to Juneau”; it has been described by many in Delridge as “third world”, and totally ignored by the city; I will be going to DESC opening, and I will take Mike up on his suggestion to check out the status of 23rd Ave SW

  • Aaron December 17, 2013 (1:17 pm)

    Thank you Mike and Ms Sparkles!

    After suffering through the misery of the demolition to the completion of the new building, I really hope the neighborhood quiets down once folks move in and call this place home. It has been challenging to say the least.

    My hat is off to the folks with Walsh Construction. They did their best to mitigate construction woes on the neighbors.

    DESC still has not distributed flyers about the opening to neighbors as promised, so I doubt anyone from the neighborhood without direct connections even knows…they sure don’t have contact phone #’s as promised.

    There is enough money around to build a 14+million dollar building to house 66 people,
    but not enough to bring an adjacent street up from 1920 standards…

  • FormerDelridgian December 17, 2013 (1:55 pm)

    It really appears that the DESC’s mission is to relocate the poor and needy to places where the wealthy and powerful who run it it no longer have to see them.

  • Denise twosilly December 17, 2013 (8:11 pm)

    I applaud you in your efforts to give a home to the people that need it the most ! People that don’t work with the homeless don’t understand. Thank you for all you do, including the Doctors, the Nurses and Social workers for their daily hard work.

  • Jeffrey December 17, 2013 (10:27 pm)

    This IS what the collected “we the people” voted for.

    Though I do wonder how some posters would feel if such a facility were built in their neighborhood.

    Imagine the shi# storm if one were proposed for the inner sanctum of Magnolia or atop Queen Anne, or perhaps upon Genessee Hill with a water view; don’t these folks deserve such a view?

  • WestofJunction December 18, 2013 (7:41 am)

    $14M divided by 66 units works out to well over $200,000 per unit. So assuming that a developer would price units to make a profit, they would have to sell in the $300,000 range. Aren’t there a lot of hardworkng people subsidizing this who can’t afford a $300,000 home?

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