Thirteen BIPOC organizations will receive City funds to secure critical properties to prevent displacement in their communities. As existing displacement pressures mount through the COVID-19 pandemic, these funds will preserve critical sites as well as create new opportunities for self-determined solutions to meet community needs.
OPCD and the Office of Arts and Culture (ARTS) will administer $30 million from the City’s Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) in site acquisitions led by 13 BIPOC-led organizations to secure critical community owned properties to prevent displacement and increase access to opportunity in their communities/neighborhoods. City Council approved legislation for the funds, which will be used to help these organizations acquire permanent sites – up to $5 million each – in areas with significant planned public investments such as light rail station areas and parks, where increased access to opportunities will likely increase displacement pressures.
The SIF was created to prevent and mitigate displacement pressures by invest explicitly in community wealth building, respond to urgent opportunities, and leverage community assets. The projects selected for funding will create affordable housing for families and seniors, childcare, arts and cultural space, community space, small business incubation and preservation, open space, and historic preservation. The SIF’s $30 million is part of Mayor Jenny A. Durkan’s commitment of $100 million to support BIPOC organizations that face disparities due to systemic racism and oppression.
The SIF received 100 proposals from BIPOC-led organizations, with funding requests of more than $330 million. A Community Advisory Group comprised of representatives with diverse experience and expertise in affordable housing, community development and equitable development evaluated the applications. The group has recommended that the City fund 13 site acquisitions with the available funding.
Now OPCD and ARTS will begin to work with the 13 organizations to identify and acquire properties in the months and years ahead. The City will announce individual site acquisitions after the completion of real estate negotiations. Until purchase and sale agreements are signed, the names of the organizations will not be publicly available.