Michael Harthorne
The Low Income Housing Institute is proposing 40 to 60 units for low-income and homeless individuals and families, as well as an Urban Rest Stop, for this vacant lot across from Wiggin & Sons Funeral Home on Northwest 57th Street.

LIHI proposes Ballard low-income, homeless housing, Urban Rest Stop

The Low Income Housing Institute's proposed Ballard development would include housing for families and individuals making less than 60 percent of the median King County Income as well as space for homeless families. It would also include an Urban Rest Stop.

The Low Income Housing Institute, more commonly known as LIHI, offered new details about the project at 2014 N.W. 57th St., currently a vacant lot, during the Oct. 13 Ballard District Council meeting.

The proposed development includes 40 to 60 units, including studios, one-bedroom units and two-bedroom units, for families and individuals with incomes less than $51,360 for a four-person household and $41,100 for a two-person household.

LIHI is proposing setting aside approximately 20 percent of the units for homeless families.

LIHI would also be locating an Urban Rest Stop on the first floor of the building. The Urban Rest Stop would provide free showers and laundry, as well as bathrooms, nurses, barbers, attorneys and more, for homeless individuals and families.

This would be the second Urban Rest Stop for LIHI. The first was opened in downtown Seattle in 1999.

Ronni Gilboa, manager of the Urban Rest Stop, said the Ballard neighborhood plan indicated a need for this type of service in the community.

The promise of more information on the LIHI Ballard development drew a dozen or so people to the Ballard District Council meeting.

Those attending specifically for the LIHI presentation seemed split on the project. One woman said LIHI has been a great neighbor in Lake City Way, while others pointed out that Compass Housing Alliance is already opening Urness House for homeless individuals a few blocks away.

Gilboa said there is a difference between the minimum wage and what it costs to rent in Seattle. This will be housing for those people working multiple minimum-wage jobs in the service sector or elsewhere who are trying to make ends meet.

Sharon Lee, executive director of LIHI, said it will take another year to come up with a design and secure funding from the city, county, state and other sources and another year for construction. She said it will be two to three years before the project is ready to open.

There will be a public meeting on LIHI's proposed Ballard development at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 27 in Conference Room A at Ballard Swedish Medical Center, located at 5300 Tallman Ave. N.W.

In addition, Lee offered to take any interested Ballard community members on a tour of other LIHI properties, including the three in Greenwood.

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