Making ‘formerly homeless’ the new reality

PRESS RELEASE – DESC opens Hobson Place, 177 new homes + embedded Harborview Clinic

SEATTLE – On Oct. 7, Downtown Emergency Service Center opened Phase 1 of Hobson Place, a new supportive housing project in Seattle. When fully complete, Hobson Place, will host a total of 177 new homes and a clinic that will serve on-site tenants and 10,000 other community members each year. With the Clinic at Hobson Place, DESC and Harborview Medical Center will establish the first local full-scale clinic specifically designed to meet the complex needs of people living with disabilities who have experienced the longest periods of homelessness. Hobson Place, named after former DESC executive director, the late Bill Hobson, will provide the supportive housing units and specialized clinic together to create the resources most critically needed by people who have experienced long periods on the streets.

According Daniel Malone, DESC’s Executive Director, “residents of Hobson Place will throw off the daily stress of wondering how they’re going to survive on the streets and begin to open a new chapter in their lives and be able to rejoin the life of the community.”

Prior to each move-in, volunteers fill the apartments with household goods including bedding, kitchen, bathroom and cleaning supplies. The building will be staffed 24/7 to provide people with support and care. You can see the virtual opening event celebration here.

During the celebration, King County Executive Dow Constantine noted that “for over 40 years DESC has brought innovation and leadership to the design and delivery of housing and services specifically for the most vulnerable members of our society. Housing First. It was the right idea then, it’s the right idea now.”

The colorful accent panels were inspired by a family-owned cut glass business that operated on the site for more than 100 years, Kusak Cut Glass Works. The history of the site is also honored in the artwork commissioned from Coast Salish artists by Eighth Generation. Artist Gail White Eagle was inspired by nature after a spring snow: “I brushed aside the snow to see if the plants still survived, and the plants did. They were still there they were still growing and flourishing. You could still feel the energy, the resilience of the plants and the trees still came through even after it snowed, and that’s what I wove about for the Hobson Place.”

Funding for the project comes from the City of Seattle Office of Housing, Washington State Housing Finance Commission, Washington State Department of Commerce, National Equity Fund, Federal Home Loan Bank, National Equity Fund, JP Morgan Chase, Corporation for Supportive Housing, and private philanthropy.

Project Information

Address: 1911 22nd Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98144

Total Square Footage: 145,732

Number of Units: 177 small efficiency units & Integrated Health Clinic

Project Team

Architect of Record: Runberg Architecture Group

Healthcare Architect: TGB Architects

Development Consultant: Lotus Development

Contractor: Walsh Construction

Landscape Architecture: Nakano Associates

Structural Engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen

Civil Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers

Interior Design: Mercedes Fernandez Interior Design

Acoustic Consultant: A3 Acoustic

Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineer: Rushing Company

Energy Consultant: O’Brien 360

Envelope Consultant: JRS Engineering

Passive House Consultant:  JGA Consultants

CPHC and Energy Modeler: RDH

At The Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), we believe everyone deserves the space to exist and a place to call home. We provide integrated services including housing, emergency shelter, crisis intervention and healthcare to thousands of homeless and formerly homeless people every day. We fight for public resources and policies that serve our most vulnerable and marginalized neighbors. DESC is a national pioneer, innovator, and leader in the Housing First movement, which is now the dominant service approach promoted in national policy.