The Low Income Housing Institute’s Cheryl Chow Court (2014 NW 57th St) was officially opened this morning in front of a huge crowd of local supporters.
Over 100 people packed into the downstairs conference room, spilling out into the hallway to witness the event.
The event was attended by the activist singing group The Raging Grannies and many other official guests including Congressman Jim McDermott, Seattle City Councilmembers Mike O’Brien and Kshama Sawant and Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim.
This latest addition to the LIHI property group was named in honor of the late former Seattle City Councilmember Cheryl Chow who was instrumental in the creation of the Urban Rest Stop downtown 14 years ago.
Former Councilmember Chow secured funding to purchase the property and stood up to local opposition from the downtown business community to ensure that the Urban Rest Stop opened.
“LIHI admires and praises Cheryl Chow for her fearless leadership. She worked diligently with housing advocates to ensure that homeless people have a place to call home,” said Sharon Lee, Executive Director of LIHI.
Through the opening of Cheryl Chow Court in Ballard, the LIHI team is providing local homeless or low-income seniors with 50 studio and 1-bedroom units. Check out the photo of Cheryl Chow Court resident Russell’s 1-bedroom apartment below.
Residents pay 30% of their income for rent and utilities, they must earn below $30,900 (for a one-person household) and each household must include one resident that is over 62 years of age.
Cheryl Chow Court provides a comfortable, supportive and welcoming environment for residents. The non-smoking facility also provides residents with important features such as a library with internet-enabled computers (pictured below), a large community room, a patio garden and a communal laundry.
“LIHI is delighted to provide affordable senior housing in Ballard, one of the most attractive, livable, and walk-able neighborhoods in Seattle,” says Lee.
During the packed opening event, many speakers emphasized the importance of having affordable housing options in Ballard for local homeless and low income seniors.
In particular, Cheryl Chow Court resident Cleveland Harmon (pictured while speaking below), who was previously homeless, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity that LIHI has provided.
“I stand here thanking each and everyone of you. Today I don’t have a cardboard box, I have a key that opens a door, I have a bathroom, a shower, I have a blessing. I can sleep without the fear of being harmed,” says Harmon.
In addition to the units and studios, Cheryl Chow Court will provide the local homeless community with shower, restroom and laundry facilities at an Urban Rest Stop that is currently under construction on the first floor of the building.
The opening of the Ballard URS has been an contentious and ongoing issue since 2010 that has received a variety of responses from local residents.
The most recent controversy being, as the My Ballard team reported in March, the filing of a legal complaint by neighbors against the opening of the URS that was later overturned by the Hearing Examiner.
Urban Rest Stop Program Director Ronni Gilboa disagrees with opponents of the URS and believes that there is a significant needed for this type of facility in Ballard.
“There is definitely a need here, it is important for everyone to remember that not all homeless people live in the downtown area,” says Gilboa
The My Ballard team will update readers when the opening date of the URS is known.
Click here to learn more about Cheryl Chow Court.