Getting to the "why"

Community Roots Housing annual report 2022

At Community Roots Housing, we believe everyone has the right to a quality, affordable home. Housing is foundational to human health and success and provides the fundamental architecture for our communities. For over forty years our mission has been to meet the need for housing while building vibrant communities. Our expanding portfolio of community-centered projects embodies this commitment.

Yet, in 2022 we seek to move beyond the “how” and get to the “why” of our mission.

As we have evolved as an organization, we have grown to face the reality that housing disparities are not accidental. Systemic and racist restrictions like redlining, racially restrictive deed covenants, and unfair financing have exacerbated steep disparities in housing access, wealth, ownership, and opportunity.

We acknowledge that our industry and even our organization have tolerated and perpetuated this reality. We must name it, and we must commit to reversing it. But taking on the fight against inequity is not something we do alone. We do it with our community partners. We do it with humility and with our hearts open. We begin by putting this commitment in our very mission statement:

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

How does this commitment show up in our work today?

We are creating more affordable housing than ever before, placing into service over 500 new apartment homes in the next two years, including workforce housing.

We are fostering community by focusing on environmental sustainability with one of the United States’ first cross-laminated timber affordable housing projects, the Heartwood.

We are investing in existing properties, renovating and rehabilitating them to ensure residents have quality homes that endure through the years. And we continue to support residents still reeling from the pandemic with significant rental assistance funding.

We are leading with our commitment to racial equity in our work and operations.

At Community Roots Housing, our commitment to mission isn’t new. It is ever evolving. Together with you, we will continue this work for generations to come.


Christopher Persons and Drew Porter photos

Community Roots' mission statement evolves

In 2019, Community Roots identified two major focuses in strategic planning moving forward: residents and racial equity. We set a goal to more effectively center resident needs and to foster more equitable outcomes in our work. To that end, Community Roots has spent the past year reworking the organization’s mission statement, strategic vision, and objectives to chart out actionable progress toward these goals. After surveying hundreds of stakeholders and incorporating their feedback, Community Roots Housing has adopted a new mission statement:

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

With a new set of strategic priorities focused on racial equity, resident success, community, stewardship, growth, and our team, we can better align with our values.

Learn more about the new strategic priorities

Since our founding in 1976, when we focused our efforts on support for low-income homeowners, to now, with our largest pipeline ever of new multifamily affordable housing projects, we have always envisioned Seattle as a place where people can set down roots. We will continue to work every day to ensure everyone has access to a safe, quality, affordable home.

Rise Together: Great successes and moving goal posts

Responding to our region’s acute housing crisis requires forward thinking and powerful visions. We need deep, transformative partnerships that bring community and thought leaders together. Community Roots is one of six organizations that comprises Rise Together, a collaborative of Seattle-area nonprofits working together to raise funds to support six community-driven development projects in the Central District, Capitol Hill, and White Center neighborhoods. Partners include Africatown Community Land Trust, Byrd Barr Place, Community Roots Housing, GenPride, Southwest Youth & Family Services, and the White Center Community Development Association.

Rise Together is based upon an understanding that those we serve—including people of color, immigrants and refugees, LGBTQIA+ elders, and low-income families—are being left out of the opportunities afforded by our region’s economic growth. With shared resources and a strong collaborative model, we can better support our equitable development projects that provide affordable homes and a myriad of community-based services for people who live, work, and play in three rapidly changing neighborhoods. Together, we have raised over $36 million in private philanthropy and competitive public grants since Rise Together launched in 2018. This funding helped bring the Liberty Bank Building to the heart of the Central District, serving as a center of African American and African diaspora life in Seattle. Capitol Hill will have the state’s first LGBTQIA+ affirming affordable senior housing development with life-affirming resources. White Center, one of greater Seattle’s most ethnically and income-diverse neighborhoods, will have a “HUB” (standing for “Hope, Unity and Belonging”) featuring affordable housing, integrated physical and behavioral healthcare, youth and family services, and community spaces.

These buildings meet communities where they are, centering their needs and priorities while putting a stake in the ground against forces of displacement. But with inflation and construction costs escalating, the goalposts keep moving. As of today, we need to raise a total of $45 million to make all these projects a reality. With three projects completed and two more under construction, our vision is within reach.

Raising the remaining $9 million within the next year is critical and will require more extraordinary partnership with our philanthropic, government, and individual supporters. If you’re interested in learning how you can support this effort, visit

Capitol Hill EcoDistrict advances neighborhood connectivity, resilience

Donna Moodie delivers remarks

The Capitol Hill EcoDistrict works to co-create a neighborhood that’s equitable and sustainable for all. Capitol Hill, Seattle is the most densely populated neighborhood in the Pacific Northwest with a wide range of needs that include and extend beyond affordable housing. In collaboration with community organizations, government agencies, and local businesses, the EcoDistrict continues to reimagine a neighborhood that is truly livable for all.

As Seattle updates its Comprehensive and Transportation Plans, the EcoDistrict is integrating a vision for public life that centers relationships, health, and environmental resilience in our shared spaces.

REVIVAL market series

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Over the past year, the EcoDistrict’s vision of advancing connections and enriching public spaces has been exemplified in their REVIVAL Market Street pilot project. First launched as a holiday market in 2021, REVIVAL is designed to help repair the harm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the endemic inequities it brought to light. In 2022, the EcoDistrict hosted three successful REVIVAL market street pop-ups and a holiday gift guide that prioritized Black, Brown, and Indigenous-owned business owners without brick-and-mortar locations.

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“Pop-up shops are so crucial right now for small businesses… It’s extremely important for me as a business owner, in supporting myself and our project, and we need more opportunities like this… Although TASWIRA has been a featured business for many pop-up markets throughout Seattle, my experience with REVIVAL has made the EcoDistrict’s model stand apart from the rest.”

Avery Barnes, TASWIRA

Stormwater strategies

The EcoDistrict continued its advocacy for Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) strategies across the neighborhood in 2022. The team built awareness with the installation of rain-activated sidewalk murals as a public space activation. The EcoDistrict also partnered with Seattle 2030 District and RainWise to host a World Water Day workshop series to educate property developers and faith-based organizations about GSI strategies and implementation programs.

Lowell Elementary community hub

The EcoDistrict helped celebrated the official opening of the Lowell Elementary school-based health center (SBHC), which opened its doors to provide affordable, conveniently located, and easy-to-access healthcare services for students and their families, as well as school staff members. The SBHC will help to bridge the gap for families who do not consistently have access to care, and it will be the first Seattle clinic to house a “community hub” in addition to its healthcare resources with the creation of a food pantry in 2023. The hub will act as a connecting agent to distribute resources, facilitate programming, and host events that support students and their families.

Connecting residents with resources

Throughout 2022, the Community Roots Resident Services team celebrated several milestones, including the administration of $1.3 million in federal rental assistance. The portfolio-wide effort helped roughly 40% of Community Roots households eliminate their rental arrears and avoid debt accumulation. In acknowledgment of the overwhelming economic, physical, and social stressors of the last three years, the team employed door-to-door outreach to ensure as many residents as possible had access to aid. The team’s referral-based approach made over 1,000 connections to services including additional help with rental assistance, utility payments, and other forms of direct support.

The team continued to focus on accessibility for resident-centered projects. Over the past year, Resident Services piloted a diaper program as well as a food security program to assist households with grocery access. After two years of modified iterations, the annual Back to School events once again took place – dozens of staff and volunteers traveled to five different Community Roots buildings to distribute free school supplies to students. The team, with the help of community partners and volunteers, passed out over 150 backpacks, notebooks, books, and pencil box materials alongside facepainting and free meals.

Resident Services is guided by the expressed needs of residents throughout Community Roots’ 45 buildings, and the team is looking forward to building out responsive programs in the coming year.

Meet Community Roots residents

View our properties

Zoom in and click on the markers to explore each of our 45 buildings across Seattle.

Upcoming projects

Community Roots has nearly a dozen projects in our development pipeline, comprising over 1,400 new affordable apartments set to open in the next five years.


The Africatown Plaza groundbreaking in February 2022 marked an exciting step forward in bringing 126 affordable, quality, and culturally inclusive homes to one of Seattle’s historically most racially and ethnically diverse neighborhoods. Situated on the south end of the Midtown Block redevelopment in the Central District, Africatown Plaza builds on the success of the nearby Liberty Bank Building.

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In August, the 13th & Fir Family Housing project celebrated “topping out,” or reaching its maximum height when the top floor of the building is framed out. With all the structural components of the project in place, construction is on track to be completed in 2023. 13th & Fir Family Housing is a partner project between Community Roots and the Seattle Chinatown International District PDA that will create 158 affordable homes—many of which will be rare three-and four-bedroom, family-sized units—for the communities of Yesler Terrace, Little Saigon, and the Central District.

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Heartwood is where sustainability and affordability intersect. Built with cross-laminated timber (CLT), an environmentally friendly construction material, Heartwood will provide 126 new apartments affordable to middle-income households. Set to open in 2023, Heartwood is one of the first affordable CLT projects in the United States.

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Heartwood topped out in early December, and to celebrate the milestone project partners gathered to sign the topmost beam before it was hoisted up. Future residents will be able to move into the building by summer 2023.

Pride Place Aereal Sitework Photo

Once Pride Place is complete, it will be Washington’s first affordable housing development for LGBTQIA+ seniors. In 2022, Pride Place surpassed the 50% construction completion mark, making progress toward the 118 life-affirming homes that will soon be available to the community.

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The ground floor at Pride Place will include a 4,400 square foot LGBTQIA+ focused community and health care center led by GenPride. The building will also contain ground-level retail space in the preserved facades of the landmarked Eldridge Tire Building and the Atlas Clothing Building.


Finance Final

2021 Financial Activities Summary

Community Roots Housing properties saw vacancy rates averaging 5.9% across our portfolio in 2021. At the end of 2021, assets exceeded liabilities by $48.1 million and unrestricted cash totaled $7 million. During 2021 there were significant construction and related financing activities. The Bonanza project to rehabilitate three existing properties (Ponderosa, El Nor, and Eighteenth Avenue) completed lease up activities and converted to permanent financing in 2021. The Station House project also closed on permanent financing in 2021. In late 2020 to early 2021, refinancing closed on another rehabilitation project of three existing properties (Boylston Howell, John Carney, and Bremer). Construction for Boylston Howell was completed in late 2021; John Carney and Bremer construction continued into 2022. Four projects closed on construction financing in 2021, of which two began construction in 2021. In partnership with Seattle Chinatown International District PDA, Community Roots closed on financing and began construction on a 156-unit affordable housing project in Yesler Terrace. Similarly, construction financing closed, and construction began on a 118-unit LGBTQIA-affirming affordable senior housing project on Capitol Hill known as Pride Place, a partner project with GenPride. In partnership with Africatown Community Land Trust, Community Roots closed on financing for a 126-unit affordable housing project in the Central District known as Africatown Plaza, which began construction in 2022. Lastly, construction financing closed on a 126-unit middle-income affordable housing project known as Heartwood, for which land for the site was purchased from the Helen V Apartments in 2021. Significant transactions in 2021 included the sale of the CHDA Lake City property to Chief Seattle Club and the sale of Squire Park Plaza to Low Income Housing Institute.

Thank you, donors!

Donor List Final

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