Proposed low-income housing draws mixed reviews

Housing the homeless is a good idea, right? But what happens when the housing is next door to you?

On Monday night at Ballard High School, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development convened a design review board that consisted of architects from the Weinstein AIU architectural firm. The purpose of the public meeting was to discuss design options (.pdf) for newly approved low-income housing in downtown Ballard.

The housing is being developed by the Compass Center, a longtime fixture in downtown Seattle. It will be 57,000 square feet, seven stories high and house 80 residents. The building site is on Northwest 56th Street between 17th and 20th Avenues Northwest.

The Compass Center Ballard will be a new housing facility that will provide housing for homeless and low-income men and women who have issues that range from mental health to drug and alcohol dependency, according to its website.

Rumi Takahashi, the project’s lead architect, said although the project is in its early design stages, it will move forward and the Compass Center has already purchased the land. “They have now recently secured funding for the project, so financially we’re a go,” Takahashi said. She added that the money comes from a combination of public sources: the state, the county and the city.

Although the meeting was supposed to be about design options, local residents seemed more concerned with how the residents of the Compass Center were going to interact with the community.

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