86 affordable housing units planned across from Ballard Commons Park

A new affordable housing project will add 86 units across the street from Ballard Commons Park.

The Seattle Office of Housing has awarded St. Luke’s Episcopal Church $9.7 million to build the affordable housing project, which is part of $95 million going to construction, rehabilitation, and acquisition of 1,100 affordable homes across the city.

The proposed apartments will be intended to serve families with low incomes—at or below 60% of Area Median Income (AMI)—which is $69,420 for a family of four in the Ballard area.

St. Luke’s plans to construct the new housing on the three lots currently home to two cottages and the church’s garden. They say the Office of Housing funding is the “green light we need” to move forward on the apartments, set to be built in partnership with Bridge Housing.

The news come just days after the encampment removal at Ballard Commons park, in which over 60 individuals transitioned into shelters around the city.

“We are rejoicing that our vulnerable neighbors, many whom have been without shelter for years, are now warm, safe and clean,”Rev. Canon Britt Olson, Vicar of St. Luke’s shared in a newsletter with the church community on Friday.

“They tell us how relieved and happy they are to have their basic needs for shelter, sustenance and safety met. We aren’t rejoicing that the park is currently closed but this is temporary. The good news is that the park will be restored for all our neighbors to share and during this time, a children’s play area will be constructed directly across from the church, providing needed outdoor spaces for families,” she writes.

St. Luke’s has long been providing services for unhoused people in Ballard; for decades, they’ve provided free breakfasts to anyone in need.

“The dream of providing affordable family housing in the Ballard neighborhood is becoming reality. This partnership between St. Luke’s, the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, Bridge Housing, the City of Seattle, and others will help us live into our vision of a community, which is diverse and welcoming,” Olson said in a statement.

“The project reflects our core values of Beloved Community, Loving Service, and Sacred Space that is sustainable and filled with the Spirit. We have been a part of the neighborhood for over 130 years, and this new development holds the promise of another hundred years to come,” Olson said.

Councilmember Dan Strauss says the St. Luke’s redevelopment will bring desperately needed affordable family housing to Ballard.

“I have watched Ballard change and grow over the last few decades. Families that I grew up with can no longer live in the neighborhood they were raised in. I’m excited to welcome families from all over Seattle come and have the experience I did growing up in this neighborhood,” Strauss said in a statement.

Photo: St. Luke’s