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Nu Tran’s Story
Nu Tran, and her daughter, came to Seattle from Vietnam in 1994 to join her family and find freedom. Nu Tran speaks Cantonese. She told us, however, that she never learned to read or write it.
Given that challenge, and not speaking, reading or writing English, the necessity of providing for a disabled family member, and being perhaps too old to find a job under the circumstances, her son had the two women live with him. This was fine for a while. However, as time went by, Nu wished for a place of her own where she could take care of her daughter, and be more independent.
One day a friend told her about someone who could help her find a place to live. That woman, fondly called ‘Auntie Tay’ by many, is a Housing Specialist at InterIm CDA. Auntie Tay speaks both Cantonese and Vietnamese. She helped Nu Tran fill out an apartment application for Nihonmachi Terrace on South Main Street. They moved in shortly after the building opened in 2006; they have been happy there ever since. Nu Tran and her daughter enjoy the company of friends, shopping in the Chinatown/International District and doing volunteer work. She feels comfortable and safe in her home, and doesn’t worry about the future. They are now able to live on their own, with continuing support from her son. They are grateful to InterIm CDA for the programs and activities, and good housing it provides for people who need these services.
InterIm CDA provides 261 apartment homes for about 730 people per year. It will soon complete Hirabayashi Place with 96 new units at the corner of 4th Avenue South and South Main Street in the Japantown (Nihonmachi) area of the International District in 2016.
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Housing is a basic need and yet a safe, decent, and affordable home is out of reach for many people living in Seattle and the greater metropolitan region. King County’s “One Night Count” in 2014 counted 3,117 people living on the streets at that time. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, it would take 2.3 full-time workers making the minimum wage in King County, 52 weeks per year, to afford a 2 bedroom apartment for a family of four to live in. We believe this is not a situation that most families can do or sustain.
InterIm CDA addresses the problem of homelessness and housing affordability in two ways: first by providing direct housing services prevent homelessness; and second, by building or renovating housing to increase the supply of affordable housing in our region.
Through our Housing Stability and Homelessness Prevention program, InterIm CDA helps approximately 1,300 – 1,500 unduplicated individuals each year either find new rental housing or avoid becoming homeless. InterIm CDA’s housing services staff is fluent in at least eleven different Asian languages so that services are provided in culturally- and linguistically-responsive ways. Staff members work with clients to provide information regarding local housing policies, to negotiate with landlords, and to assist with paper work. Additionally, in cases where clients experience a crisis, our housing service program provides short-term eviction prevention rental assistance to help people remain in or move to stable housing. For many clients, housing assistance is also coupled with information and referral services for the client to address behavioral health, job training, or educational needs. InterIm CDA also provides culturally and linguistically competent housing support services to homeless families through our Solace Transitional Housing Program. This program works to move women and children, most of whom are immigrants or refugees, from shelters or temporary housing to safe, stable, and permanent housing. Case management services for people in the 13 apartment units devoted to the Solace Transitional Housing Program are by referral through the King County Coordinated Entry and Assessment system (211).
To address the problem of an adequate supply of affordable housing in our region, InterIm CDA has developed 261 housing units located in five properties: Eastern Hotel, NP Hotel, Highland Gardens, Nihonmachi Terrace, and Samaki Commons. Altogether, InterIm CDA’s housing developments help over 730 people each year with safe, affordable and permanent housing. In early 2014, InterIm CDA will start construction on our next affordable housing project: Hirabayashi Place. This will be a 96-unit new construction apartment building at the corner of 4th Avenue South and South Main Street in the historic Japantown, or “Nihonmachi,” area of the International District. It will be a model transit-oriented development (TOD) workforce housing project in the City of Seattle. Hirabayashi Place is scheduled for completion in 2015.
Altogether, between our housing services program and housing development projects, InterIm CDA helps between 2030-2230 each year find and keep stable housing.