December 19, 2012
Vol: 19 No: 51

News

Campaign attempts to stop affordable housing in Belltown

by: Aaron Burkhalter , Staff Reporter

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A mass mailing that went out earlier this month warned Belltown residents of a new affordable housing project coming to the neighborhood.

The mailing was scant on details about the project, but implied that downtown Seattle and Belltown are saturated with too many government-funded housing projects and social services.

The mailer included a map of 29 subsidized housing complexes, shelters and social service agencies that span downtown Seattle from Denny Way to Cherry Street.

Beneath the address on the outside of the mailer, the letter asked, “Is Your Neighborhood affected by too many government funded projects?” (sic)

It encouraged tenants to attend a Dec. 4 meeting at City Hall about the design of the new building with the message, “Together we can help influence the outcome of this proposed project and others.”

Plymouth Housing is building a new 65-unit housing complex at Third Avenue and Virginia Street for residents who do not need intensive services. The nonprofit agency offers housing and wrap-around services for low-income people dealing with mental illness, chemical dependency or severe medical issues.

The new building will be reserved for existing residents who are more independent and do not need as much case management but still cannot afford market-rate housing. Each of the 65 tenants will have to apply for the program and be approved by an apartment manager.

“This is for people who have stabilized and are part of this neighborhood already,” said Tara Connor, Plymouth’s policy director.

According to Publicola, the letter came from Lori Nikfard, whose husband George Nikfard co-owns Swifty Printing, across the street from the proposed housing project.

Real Change News reached Nikfard at his business by phone, but he declined to comment on the mailing. The Nikfards previously told Publicola that they opposed the housing development because the area is already a hot spot for crime and cannot handle any more housing.

A lawyer for the Nikfards contacted Plymouth Housing for a meeting, Connor said.

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