Paul G. Allen Family Foundation’s ‘first of its kind’ housing and homeless services facility opens in Seattle

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The Gardner House in Seattle. (Paul G. Allen Family Foundation Photo)

During his lifetime, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s wide-ranging philanthropic initiatives included several programs to alleviate the homelessness crisis in his hometown. Today, a year-and-a-half after his passing, the unique housing development and resource center for families at risk of homelessness that he funded opens its doors.

The Gardner House is a community center with 95 family-sized apartments, about half of which are designated as permanent supportive housing for families that need ongoing resources. The other half are rented as affordable housing to tenants experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Two units provide a third function as in-home daycare facilities designed custom for residents who wished to become childcare providers. Gardner House has already filled 94 of the 95 units.

One of 95 family apartments in the Gardner House. (Paul G. Allen Family Foundation Photo)

The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation partnered with Mercy Housing Northwest and the City of Seattle on what they call a “first of its kind” facility. The ground floor houses the Allen Family Center, an 8,000-square-foot community hub offering housing and employment assistance, childcare, other services, and events.

“Gardner House and Allen Family Center prioritize families with a two-pronged approach offering family-sized housing and services to help families avoid or exit homelessness,” said Jody Allen, co-founder and chair of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, in a statement. “Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Gardner House has been able to welcome more than ninety families to their new homes, while the nonprofit organizations at the Allen Family Center quickly pivoted to delivering services virtually where needed.”

Jody Allen took over control of Paul Allen’s estate when he died from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2018.

The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation provided $30 million to develop and build the Gardner House. The facility received an additional $5 million from the City of Seattle and $10.7 million through a tax credit. Day-to-day operating funds for the resource center will come from Seattle’s Human Services Department.

The Gardner House is hosting a virtual tour for its grand opening Wednesday due to the coronavirus. The facility worked with local public health officials to establish safety protocols for residents and service providers.

Builders broke ground on the project in 2018 when it was called the Mount Baker Family Housing & Resource Center. The facility is near the Mount Baker light rail station in Seattle.

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