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LIHI & Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd Break Ground on 86-Unit Affordable Housing Project

Steve Tucker, Trustee of Good Shepherd, and members of the congregation braved snowy weather to break ground on Good Shepherd Housing.


On Sunday December 4th, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd and LIHI celebrated the groundbreaking of Good Shepherd Housing at 1415 22nd Ave. in Seattle’s Central Area.

Speaker included: Rev. Nate Whittaker; Steve Tucker, Trustee of Good Shepherd; and Sharon Lee, LIHI Executive Director. The seven-story, 86-unit building is being developed by the Low Income Housing Institute in partnership with Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd on property owned by the church.

The new building, which is designed by Runberg Architecture Group, will have 18 studio apartments for low-wage workers, 66 small efficiency dwelling units for the formerly homeless people, one manager’s unit and a three-bedroom unit with a separate entrance on the ground level that will be occupied by the church's minister. There will also be a building manager’s office and parking for nine vehicles. Walsh Construction Co. is the contractor.

“We value this partnership with the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd. We applaud the Church for leasing their land long-term to LIHI to create permanently affordable housing for vulnerable people who are unhoused or cost burdened. We are blessed with their compassionate leadership as other churches have sold their land to for-profit developers instead,” said Lee.

Pastor Whittaker made this prayer, "Loving Lord, we gather today with joyful hearts bursting with thanksgiving and gratitude for all you have done in and through us to get us to this moment. Use this building for decades to come to bring dignity and security to the homeless of our community as you prepare them for the next phase of their life. Most of all, we thank you for all those who are striving to solve the systemic problems that cause homelessness in our area, especially Sharon Lee and the many wonderful people at LIHI. Bring their work and the work of the countless others to completion so that Seattle may declare homelessness a problem of the past. Finally, we pray you would continue to bring this city and, specifically, the central district together to fight the effects of gentrification, especially the skyrocketing costs of living that bring about such homelessness. In Jesus’ name, we pray; Amen."

Former Pastor Steve Olsen said, "Pastor Whittaker and members of the Good Shepherd mission team, Sharon Lee and members of the LIHI family, and all others who share the joy of this day: I thank God for all of you, and Brenda and I join you in celebration. In the words of the Psalmist, "This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes." As we look forward to the completion of this beautiful building and all our neighbors who will find a home here, we must also look back over the years and give thanks for the miraculous way in which God has guided our steps to this time and place. I am especially thankful for the courage and vision of the wonderful people in the Tent Camps and Tiny House Villages. May God continue to empower us all, in the Spirit of the Prophets, to believe and proclaim that HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT."

LIHI and Good Shepherd have a long working history. The development site for this project was the location of Seattle’s first ever tiny house village which opened in 2015. LIHI now operates 18 tiny house villages that stretch from Bellingham to Olympia. Lee expects that homeless people currently living temporarily in tiny houses and other shelters will move to the new building once completed.

The project received $8.2 million in funding from the city of Seattle's Office of Housing. The project was made possible through an ordinance, adopted in June 2021, that provides development bonuses for affordable housing on property owned by religious organizations. The ordinance allows additional height and floor area to create a greater number of homes if all housing created on the site is affordable to households earning up to 80% of area median income for at least 50 years.

Funders include:

City of Seattle

Enterprise

Heritage Bank

State of Washington Housing Trust

Federal Home Loan Bank

Wyncote Foundation NW