SHA releases plan to relocate Yesler Terrace residents
Remaking Yesler Terrace will require a lot of moving trucks.
The Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) worked with the city of Seattle to rezone the neighborhood for redevelopment. Over the next 20 years, SHA will demolish the existing 561 units of low-income housing to make way for new housing developments and several highrises.
In the process, about 1,200 people will move out of the 70-year-old development, and SHA officials have to figure out where to put them. On Feb. 27, SHA released its plan to find temporary or permanent housing for members of the 493 households who currently live at Yesler Terrace.
In July 2012, SHA decided not to move anyone else into the aging development. Any vacant units will be reserved for the few people who want to remain in the neighborhood throughout the long construction period. Other residents could end up in another SHA property, receive a housing voucher to rent in the open market with a federal subsidy or move directly to the first new buildings in the redeveloped Yesler Terrace neighborhood.
Most residents, about 70 percent, said they eventually want to come back to Yesler Terrace. It may take a winding path to get to the redeveloped housing, but SHA will welcome any resident back to the neighborhood.
“That right to return is pretty iron clad,” said Michelle Ackermann, SHA spokersperson.
SHA has already met with all the residents to determine their preferences. The plan is to keep the number of moves to a minimum. At most, Yesler Terrace residents should have to move twice: once out of an old unit into some form of temporary housing and once back into the new Yesler Terrace.
The city of Seattle rezoned the 30-acre neighborhood in 2012 for the redevelopment. SHA will sell much of the property for private development and use the sales revenue to rebuild the 561 units of housing on a smaller footprint. SHA also plans to build 100 more units for people who make 30 percent or less of the area’s median income.
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