In 2019 the University Congregational Housing Association (UCHA) made the tough decision to sunset their operation and gift their properties to organizations who could continue active management of them. One year ago, UCHA donated their final two houses, Sortun Court and the Boathouse, to Bellwether Housing, a nonprofit with a mission to create stable communities and access to opportunities through affordable housing.
UCHA chose Bellwether because their mission felt like a meaningful continuation of the important work that UCHA’s founders envisioned. Bellwether has a commitment to addressing the affordable housing crisis in our neighborhood. In addition to Sortun court, they have a 40-unit apartment building of low-income housing just down the street from our church, and recently began construction of a new apartment building in the Roosevelt neighborhood.
This fall, Bellwether completed a fundraising campaign with the goal of rapidly responding to the housing crisis across our region. They will be building 800 homes in four new buildings: in First Hill, Roosevelt, Rainer Beach, and Tukwila. All four projects are currently under construction. Their five-year strategic plan is to build or acquire 2500 new apartments and embed anti-racism into their organization’s culture and work. According to Bellweather Resident Bill, “Bellwether has given me and my dog Jasper a place to get me back on my feet and has made it possible for me to rebuild my life.”
UCHA’s founders envisioned building a bridge between homelessness and stable housing, with respect for the shared humanity of those experiencing homelessness. That vision is alive and well in the work of Bellwether, and their core belief that safe and stable housing opens doors, and makes it possible for people to grow and thrive.