Our Story

A place for everyone

We envision Seattle as a place where everyone – from teachers and artists to seniors on fixed incomes to young families – can set down roots and thrive.

Our Mission

Together with residents and partners, we confront inequity to create inclusive housing and foster thriving, just communities.

Our Values

We believe in each person’s right to a safe, affordable, quality home. We act with integrity in our lives and with passion for our work. We cultivate a strong, diverse team that leads with its commitment to excellence and innovation. We responsibly steward our properties and protect the environment. We are caring and respectful of all residents, staff, community partners, and neighbors. We honor diversity and integrate a wide range of perspectives into our work.

Our history is rooted in community.

What started in Capitol Hill in the 1970s was the idea that everyone should live affordably in their neighborhood, in their community. The idea grew, and we responded to housing needs in Belltown, the Central District, and neighborhoods beyond. While building and preserving affordable apartments, we focused on the people who lived there as well as in the surrounding neighborhood.

Community Roots Housing Facts

  • Founded in 1976 by Capitol Hill community activists concerned about redlining and disinvestment.
  • Own and maintain nearly 50 apartment buildings across Seattle and White Center
  • Provide safe, affordable apartments to over 2,000 residents
  • Our organization, buildings and community projects have received over two dozen local, regional and national awards since 2000.

Community building is at our core.

From the beginning, we’ve built relationships with neighborhood organizations, and the artists, businesses, and people in those neighborhoods. Since then, we’ve grown from 11 buildings with 172 apartments in 1990 to close to 1,600 apartments today. We’ve developed amenities that not only meet the housing needs of our residents but also serve the community around them.


Fought redlining, provided low-interest loans for home repairs, and supported home sharing for seniors. Chartered as a Public Development Authority.


Began renovating and acquiring affordable apartments to meet the growing need for affordable housing.


Built one of the first LEED Silver affordable housing developments in the city, Broadway Crossing.


Launched the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict to promote a socially equitable, environmentally resilient and culturally vibrant neighborhood.


Built 12th Avenue Arts, a unique combination of affordable housing, arts and cultural space, local retail, and community office space in the heart of Capitol Hill’s arts district.


Launched Rise Together, a collaborative campaign across six partners to bring community-driven equitable development to three neighborhoods.


Opened the Liberty Bank Building in the Central District, in partnership with Africatown Community Land Trust, the Black Community Impact Alliance, and Byrd Barr Place. This was also the first building developed by Community Roots Housing with over 100 apartments.


Opened Station House apartments above the Capitol Hill light rail station targeting LEED Platinum. Capitol Hill Housing changed its name to Community Roots Housing after engaging with over 600 community members and partners.


Today, we are fully grounded in the knowledge that community members know best what they need to thrive.

Benefiting from decades of learning and listening, we are even more committed to community-centered development. We honor a community’s strengths and assets, are honored to work in community, and form collaborations with the people and organizations who share roots there. We work with service providers, funders, and hundreds of community members to create and preserve affordable homes, protect community space, stabilize arts and cultural institutions, and generate opportunities for small businesses to prosper.

We are a citywide Public Development Authority (PDA) and the Community Development Corporation (CDC) for Capitol Hill.

As a PDA and a CDC, we provide programs, offer services, and engage in other activities that promote and support community development. These designations further commit us to serving the community.


The Community Roots Housing Foundation supports us and our mission.

The Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit that raises funds to sustain operations and support specific initiatives of Community Roots Housing. The Foundation also leads communications and supports advocacy outreach in the community.

“Community” as a part of the organization’s name is a major step toward a sense of belonging, and a sense of belonging is a very longed-for feeling in communities of color and underserved communities. Oftentimes, many people don’t feel like they belong – that they could be asked to leave or forced to leave at any point. So having “community” in the name resonates especially well.

Michelle Purnell-Hepburn
PDA Board Member

Copyright © 2024 Community Roots Housing     Site Map