Enterprise Community Partners has announced a three-year, $1.65 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop affordable housing and facilities for early childhood education in the Seattle area.
The grant will support the nonprofit’s Home and Hope initiative, which was launched in 2016 to identify and secure underutilized public and tax-exempt land that can be used to address two problems in King County — rising housing costs leading to homelessness, and a shortage of early learning and childcare centers. Based on the impact a stable home has on a child’s ability to learn and the strong link between high-quality early learning and positive lifelong outcomes, the five-year initiative will seek to catalyze the development of an estimated fifteen hundred units of affordable housing and five or six early learning centers; create a model for the financing and development of ground-floor space that supports residents and communities, with a focus on education and early learning facilities; and help establish a fund to support the creation of educational spaces in mixed-use housing developments.
Over the next few months, working groups will explore topics such as design and licensure requirements, childcare subsidies for low-income families, unique financial models for developing educational spaces, and ways to connect affordable housing developers to childcare operators.
"Our region’s strong economy is a blessing, but population growth is having a head-on collision with the depleted housing supply shortage of development sites," said M.A. Leonard, vice president and Pacific Northwest market leader at Enterprise Community Partners. "Both low-income families and early learning programs in neighborhoods close to jobs and other opportunities are being displaced at an alarming rate."