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

Community Roots Housing builds vibrant and engaged communities.

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.

1970s

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

1980s

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

2007

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

2010

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

2014

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.

2018

Launched Rise Together, a collaborative campaign with five nonprofit partners to bring community-driven equitable development to three neighborhoods.

2019

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.

 

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.

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