Learning A New Way to Engage Community

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CHH Staff & Partners Learn the Pomegranate Method
On May 1st and 2nd, Capitol Hill Housing hosted a training on community engagement conducted by the Pomegranate Center for 34 staff members from CHH and five of our partners: Africatown Community Land TrustByrd Barr PlaceSouthwest Youth & Family Services, and the White Center Community Development Association (CDA).
Together, we studied the Pomegranate Method, which prioritizes the needs and ideas of community members in making collaborative decisions for their neighborhoods. This process emphasizes “placemaking” – connecting people and empowering them to define shared spaces.
For CHH, an inclusive and equitable community-driven process is a top priority. We are committed to deepening our understanding of effective strategies and working with our partners toward this mutual goal.
“I enjoyed spending time with my co-workers and community partners, learning strategies and approaches that are focused on elevating community voice. My hope is that we use the Pomegranate training to coalesce our vision…in order to have a healthy, happy, and affordable White Center community,” said Aaron Garcia, a Community Engagement Manager with the White Center CDA and a participant of the training.
We are immensely grateful to JPMorgan Chase & Co. for providing funding for this opportunity and to Katya and Milenko Matanovic from the Pomegranate Center for imparting their wisdom.

Capitol Hill Housing Hires Community Liaison

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Steven Sawada joined Capitol Hill Housing as Community Liaison in April
“My goal is to support the growth
of empowered, autonomous communities.”

Capitol Hill Housing welcomes Steven Sawada as our new Community Liaison. A resident of Capitol Hill for more than ten years, Steven joins us from Catholic Housing Services, an organization built around deep values and a commitment to its mission, he says.

Steven studied communities and networks at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance “to give language to the skills” of community engagement and policy-making. For years, he worked in residential home loan processing and made connections to his experience as a housed person living alongside houseless neighbors. Motivated, as he says, to “reconcile equity with urgency”, he charted a new path.

While volunteering at two Capitol Hill organizations, Community Lunch on Capitol Hill, a homeless meals program, and at Lambert House, a community center for LGBTQ youth, Steven was inspired by the resilience he observed in neighbors caring for one another. With support from his wife, he emphasizes, Steven sought to take on “wicked” problems – those that are systemic, perpetual, and ingrained.

At CHH, Steven’s work will focus on neighborhoods beyond Capitol Hill. A Community Liaison like Steven is an important and valuable addition to our team, especially as we continue to grow the number of projects done in partnership with other organizations and communities.

Steven hopes “to work with communities that have been historically disenfranchised and who are in danger of displacement in our rapidly growing, changing region”. To do that, he will listen to what has been working, acknowledging the expertise that lives within the invisible network of every neighborhood that has held itself together despite threatening odds.

We’re Looking for New Board Members

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Capitol Hill Housing (CHH) and the Capitol Hill Housing Foundation (CHH Foundation) are both seeking nominations of qualified board member candidates from the Seattle communities in which we currently operate and serve residents.

The deadline for nominations is Friday, March 30th. Please contact Sarah Shoemake with any questions sshoemake(at)capitolhillhousing(dot)org.

Capitol Hill Housing Emerging Leader Fellow Board Position

Read the call for nominations.

CHH seeks candidates for the Emerging Leader (EL) Fellow board position. The EL Fellow program helps CHH cultivate the next generation of leaders who will advocate for the goals of affordable housing and vibrant communities. The EL Fellow program places a young adult, approximately aged 24-34, on the CHH board, for a two-year, non-voting term, typically starting in April. 

Capitol Hill Housing Foundation Board Position

Read the call for nominations. 

The CHHF seeks nominations of potential board members from the Seattle area. The CHH Foundation raises funds to support general operations, resident services, and capital campaigns for Capitol Hill Housing. Candidates aged 24-34, members of the LGBTQ Community and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply. The Board meets quarterly, and is comprised of around 12 members, who serve two-year terms.

 

About Capitol Hill Housing
Since 1976, Capitol Hill Housing has worked alongside the community to build and preserve apartments affordable to working families and promote the qualities that make Seattle a vibrant and engaged city. Today, we provide secure, affordable homes to over 2,200 of our neighbors in 48 buildings across the city while working to make our neighborhoods safer, healthier and more equitable through the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict. Learn more at capitolhillhousing.org.

Resident Spotlight: Adrian

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It would be difficult to recognize Adrian had you met her just one short year ago. She had no permanent place to live, had recently pled guilty to a felony drug charge, and felt like she was running out of options.

In the fall of 2016, Adrian was arrested for drug possession. As an unhoused resident of downtown Seattle, she was on the radar of LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion), an innovative pilot program developed to address low-level crimes in the Belltown neighborhood. With the support of the LEAD program, Adrian was able to participate in DOSA (Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative), in which she pled guilty to the crime and was required to complete a 6-month treatment program in lieu of prison.

To truly get her life back on track, Adrian needed a safe place to live. With the help of her case manager, Devin Majkut, she applied to at least 10 different property management companies or landlords, but was denied every time. Even with a voucher guaranteed to cover the cost of her rent, many agencies were either unwilling or legally unable to provide housing to someone with a criminal record.

“It felt so unfair,” Adrian recalls. “The government gives you a voucher to help you get back on your feet, but that same government has policies that make it almost impossible to use it.”

Devin reflects on how disheartening the process was, “All you’re trying to do is get more stable and it’s hard to be met with closed door after closed door after closed door. We’re both fighters, I’m confident we would have found a place eventually, but I don’t know when, and I don’t know how safe it would have been.”

Luckily, Devin and Adrian were given a break. Through a personal connection, Devin learned of Capitol Hill Housing’s Individual Assessment program. The program is designed for people like Adrian who may have a criminal record or poor rental history and need an opportunity to tell their story instead of being automatically denied housing.

“It gave me an opportunity to explain the circumstances around my arrest, about my history,” says Adrian. “When the applications are being looked at without a face or a name and you’re just looking at a piece of paper – you don’t know the whole story – you don’t know who that person is.”

Capitol Hill Housing took a second look at Adrian’s application, along with her personal statement, letters of support, and additional background information. With support from LEAD, her application was approved, and Adrian moved into her apartment a short time later.

Devin believes that if it wasn’t for CHH, it would have been a long time before a landlord was found who would have been willing to work with Adrian. The nuances of her case and the program can be difficult to understand and with such a recent conviction, Devin feared it would be difficult to convince people that Adrian was truly ready for independent housing.

Adrian’s success, in addition to another individual housed through a similar process, have led CHH and REACH (the parent program of LEAD) to create a partnership where CHH continues to help remove barriers to housing for the population LEAD serves, while LEAD continues to provide case management to their clients. “It’s really exciting to work with an organization with whom we share so many common goals,” says Ashley Thomas, CHH Resident Services Manager. “Together we can provide safe, affordable housing to vulnerable populations, while also meeting an individual’s need for supportive services.”

And for Adrian, it was just the hand up she needed. She’s looking forward to starting school this fall, where she will study Social and Human Services. “I want to be offer support to people going through difficult times – support that wasn’t available to me when I was young.”

Now, Adrian is able to focus on getting back into the community, reconnecting with family, and even just having a normal social life again. “If you’re not having to worry about where you’re going to sleep or how you’re going to survive, it opens the door to so many more possibilities,” reflects Devin. Adrian adds, “Yeah, like what are you going to make for dinner? How are you going to decorate your apartment? How are you going to manage your finances? I never thought about any of that before – I was just focused on survival.”

But now she’s focused on her health, her happiness, and her family. “I’ve reconnected with my grandmother,” Adrian says. “I know she’s going to leave this earth someday, and I’m so happy to now be in a place where I can say, ‘Grandma, I’m okay.’”

SPECIAL MEETING NOTICE: Nov 1

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November 1, 2017

The Capitol Hill Housing Board will hold a meeting of the Joint Board Development Committee on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 from 12:30 – 2:00 pm. The meeting will be held in the Belmont Conference Room of the CHH office at 1620 12th Ave, Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98122.

Thank you,

Capitol Hill Housing

SPECIAL MEETING NOTICE: October 4th

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SPECIAL MEETING NOTICE

October 3, 2017 

The Capitol Hill Housing Board will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, October 4 at 2:00 pm. The meeting will be held in the Belmont Conference Room of the CHH office at 1620 12th Ave, Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98122. Alternatively, participants may call into the meeting using the teleconference information below:

To join this call, please dial:       862-902-0241

And use access code:                   2557448# 

The business of the meeting will be to consider Resolution 2017-21 and any other matters pertaining to the close of financing for acquisition of the Midtown site.

 Thank you,

Capitol Hill Housing