Situated just east of downtown Seattle, the development features one six-story building plus three townhouses with 103 affordable homes in all. The hub of Kebero – whose residents compose a tapestry of many cultures and ethnicities – is a courtyard where a colorful playground pops to life with children’s laughter once the school day ends.
- Affordable to low- and moderate-income families: Eighty Kebero Court homes represent one-to-one replacement of the homes in the former Yesler Terrace, serving residents earning up to 30 percent of Area Median Income – particularly residents who moved temporarily during the redevelopment. Another 23 homes will target people earning up to 60 percent AMI.
- Available in markets where the supply gap is growing: Thirty-six percent of households in the greater Seattle metro area are housing-cost-burdened, meaning they spend 30 percent or more of their income on housing. Of these cost-burdened households, 54 percent are renters.
- Healthy, well-designed and sustainable: Kebero Court meets Washington State’s Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard (ESDS), equivalent to the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria. Advanced ventilation systems, non-carpeted options, and a 1,300 square-foot green roof system are among the healthy, cost-efficient features. Kebero Court also features some homes designed to accommodate residents with disabilities.
- Connected to good schools, jobs, transit and health care: A new streetcar line, plus eight bus routes, are within a tenth of a mile, offering multiple transit options. An elementary school, convenience and grocery stores, Seattle University and Harborview Hospital are all within walking distance. The community’s former steam plant has been transformed into the Epstein Opportunity Center, which offers early childhood and adult education, tutoring and space for community events.
“Enterprise has been a critical, committed partner. They provide so much more than pass-through funding. They bring expertise, a deep knowledge of the community and valuable partnerships.”
– Andrew Lofton, Executive Director,
Seattle Public Housing Authority
Enterprise remains actively involved in the Yesler Community Collaborative of housing, business, education and other partners working with the Seattle Housing Authority to ensure equitable, sustainable development. The group’s goal is to help extend and amplify the success of this major revitalization effort to surrounding neighborhoods.
“I Have No Worries Living Here”
When Huyen Dang learned that she and her 11-year-old son Andrew would be among the first residents to move from the “old” to the “new” Yesler Terrace, it marked an opportunity for a much-needed fresh start.
“We were happy and excited to come here,” says Huyen, flashing a huge smile as she gestures around her light-filled apartment.
The Dangs’ former home at the World War II-era Yesler was a leading-edge development for its time as Seattle’s first publicly subsidized – and the country’s first racially integrated – housing complex. But its homes and underground infrastructure had aged beyond the ability to be repaired or rehabilitated.
Once fully complete, the new Yesler Terrace will be a mixed-income, mixed-use community on a 30-acre site with 5,000 homes – about 10 times as many homes as were on the site when the redevelopment began. Seattle Public Housing is ensuring one-to-one replacement of all the homes and helping residents navigate that transition.
According to Dang, being able to call Kebero Court home has brought her family a sense of safety and harmony. Access to the building is secure, and neighbors are friendly and considerate. Dang’s son has friends his age on multiple levels of the building. His school is just across the street.
“I have no worries living here,” says Dang, adding: “I’m very lucky. And I’m very thankful to Seattle Public Housing. Without them, I don’t know where we’d live because the rents are so high here in Seattle.”
Dang moved to public housing in 2009 after her then-husband abruptly left. Unable to keep up with the payments, she lost their home to foreclosure, ruining her credit in the process.
Until last year, Dang worked as a human services administrator, helping people apply for food stamps. But she had to give up her job when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Now that she has finished her chemotherapy treatments, Dang is focused on regaining her strength and finding work with help from resources at the nearby Epstein Opportunity Center – where Andrew attends the Seattle University Youth Initiative’s summer programs.
Coming to the United States from Vietnam as a young girl with her mother to find greater opportunity, Dang has similar dreams of college and prosperity for her own son, a bright and enterprising charmer. For her birthday, he planned a special dinner, going online to research restaurants and make a reservation. He also gave her multicolored paper for the tiny origami cranes that she delicately folds into shape.
“I learned how to do it,” Dang explains, “because there’s a Japanese story that says if you make 10,000 cranes, then your wish will come true.”