A New Mixed-Use Affordable Housing Community Coming to King County

 Seattle, WA –  Mercy Housing Northwest and Open Doors for Multicultural Families, in partnership with Sound Transit, King County, and the City of Kent, are proud to announce that they have been selected by Sound Transit to partner on a new Kent-Des Moines North Transit Oriented Development.

The Kent Multicultural Village will be an inclusive mixed-use affordable housing community adjacent to the future Kent Des Moines Light Rail Station.

“For Mercy Housing Northwest, the Kent-Des Moines North Transit Oriented Development is more than another affordable housing development. It represents so many of the things we believe. It begins with strong partnerships such as Sound Transit, King County, City of Kent, and Open Doors for Multicultural Families,” said Mercy Housing Northwest President, Joe Thompson. “From there, it centers families and individuals around transit-oriented design, robust on-site services, and access to community resources. Finally, it stands as another example of our commitment to the families and individuals who call South King County, home.”

Providing Critical Affordable Housing for Families and People with Disabilities

As part of the selection and in support of Transit-Oriented Development affordable housing projects built on Sound Transit discounted property, King County committed $5 million to the selected project. In addition, the project is eligible for an expedited allocation of Multifamily Housing Bonds with 4% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.

“Sound Transit is proud of its role in delivering critically needed affordable housing here in Kent and across the region,” said King County Councilmember and Sound Transit Board member Dave Upthegrove. “This project is particularly exciting as it brings together intellectual and developmental disabilities housing needs with non-profit, childcare, and retail space so close to the Kent-Des Moines Station.”

Mercy Housing Northwest is proposing to build at least 175 affordable apartment homes, with a goal of 220, offered to residents earning between 30% and 80% of the Area Median Income. Mercy Housing Northwest will also offer onsite services through our Resident Services programming, including Mercy Scholars.

Open Doors for Multicultural Families will operate the first two floors of the building, which once complete will be home to an inclusive Early Learning Center focused on meeting the needs of diverse families and children with developmental and intellectual disabilities. This mixed-use community will also include a new Family Resource Center Hub with office spaces for Open Doors for Multicultural Families and other nonprofit organizations.

“People with disabilities and their families struggle to find and access housing that meets their needs. In the face of a broader housing crisis, common experiences of cruelty, exclusion, and indifference to people with disabilities have denied many the security of stable, safe housing and the benefits of community for too long,” said Ginger Kwan, Executive Director of Open Doors for Multicultural Families. “A more inclusive and just future is possible for all of us, including people with disabilities. The Multicultural Village is a community-driven housing solution for people with disabilities and their families, where all people can thrive and feel belonging. It’s a community of us, for the benefit of all.”

Ground floor retail, such as restaurants and other small and emerging businesses will also anchor The Kent Multicultural Village. The goal of the retail space is to elevate entrepreneurs from nearby neighborhoods and create new opportunities in historically underrepresented communities.

Meeting Diverse Housing Needs

In Washington State, 37,000 people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) face housing insecurity. The Kent Multicultural Village will advance an equitable solution by setting aside 20% of the affordable apartment homes, specifically designed for residents with IDD, their families, and caregivers.

“We see far too many barriers to affordable housing for people with disabilities. Innovative partnerships can bring together diverse funding streams to deliver equitable access to housing and services, build connection and inclusion, and create the opportunity for every one among us to thrive,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Even in the face of continued income inequality, housing shortages, and outright discrimination, King County is working alongside Mercy Housing Northwest, Open Doors for Multicultural Families, Sound Transit, and other housing partners and service providers to meet the diverse needs of families, children, people with disabilities and their caregivers.”

Kent Multicultural Village will provide much-needed affordable housing and onsite Resident Services for families, with over 50% of the apartments between two and four bedrooms, meeting the critical need for affordable family-sized rental housing. Kent Multicultural Village location will help prevent the displacement of low-income renters as redevelopment activities continue adjacent to new transit facilities.

There will also be a spacious public plaza located adjacent to the north entrance of the transit station. The plaza will feature public art and flexible space to accommodate community events and gatherings.

“The City is grateful for the Mercy Housing/Open Doors proposal and its promise to deliver services, like child care, and fulfill housing for underserved communities, particularly those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families who experience acute difficulty finding homes that meet their needs,” said City of Kent Mayor, Dana Ralph, City of Kent.

King County committed over $230 million to Transit Oriented Development projects to help meet the growing demand for affordable housing throughout our region.

This project is tentatively scheduled to break ground in mid-2025. Construction is expected to take approximately two years to complete. Walsh Construction will be the General Contractor and Schemata Workshop will be the project architect.

About Mercy Housing Northwest

Since 1981, Mercy Housing Northwest (MHNW) has provided affordable homes to people with low incomes, including families, seniors, people who have experienced homelessness, and people with disabilities. With 54 properties in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, MHNW serves more than 6,000 people every day. MHNW supplements much of its housing with Resident Services, programs that help residents build stable lives. MHNW is a regional branch of Mercy Housing, Inc. a leading national affordable housing nonprofit headquartered in Denver, CO. For more information, visit mercyhousing.org/northwest

About Open Doors for Multicultural Families

Open Doors for Multicultural Families (ODMF) was founded in 2009 by a dedicated group of parents and caregivers of culturally and linguistically diverse persons with developmental disabilities, family members, and community volunteers specifically to meet the needs of individuals at the intersection of race and disability. We envision a world where all culturally and linguistically diverse individuals with developmental/intellectual disabilities and their families thrive in an inclusive society of their design. ODMF provides services across the lifespan to holistically meet the unique needs of the intersectional communities we serve.