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For Neighbors

Being a Good Neighbor is important to us. We know the value of a connected community for DESC’s tenants, and we want you to be able to ask questions, to comment or share concerns with staff. For immediate concerns, please call the building’s front desk. Building contact information can be found here. For neighbors with larger or more agency-wide questions, email DESC Community Engagement Coordinator Anne Williamson.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is DESC?

DESC believes in housing and health to end homelessness. Find out more about our mission, DESC’s 43 year history, or our leadership.

What is permanent supportive housing?

Permanent supportive housing features services to help tenants thrive and permanently retain their apartments. Learn more about those services here.

How does DESC recruit and select tenants?

Placement in DESC housing goes through King County Regional Homelessness Authority’s Coordinated Entry for All program. Tenancy is prioritized for single adults experiencing chronic homelessness (those who’ve been unhoused for over a year) and are living with a disability. Since supportive housing is a specialized resource, DESC selects applicants, those most vulnerable in our community, who need this type of housing to be successful.

Will the neighborhood see crime increase with the tenants you select?

Overall a person who is homeless is no more likely to be convicted of a crime than any housed person, with one legal exception: camping ordinances. A number of people who have been homeless have some history of arrests or convictions for crimes of circumstance. Living on the streets without a predictable place to live often leads many to petty crime to simply survive.

More often, people experiencing homelessness with a disability such as mental illness or substance use disorder are the victims of violence. Providing stable housing with adequate staff support greatly increases the safety of this vulnerable population.

How will DESC help integrate new tenants into the surrounding neighborhood?

DESC’s tenants are all permanent residents of the community, with a legal lease and tenant rights like all Seattle renters. Many of our tenants will eagerly join into the community, while others will more likely keep to themselves. Just as your other neighbors have their quirks and eccentricities, so do our tenants. And much like your neighbors, our residents also want a safe and secure community to live in.

How does permanent supportive housing affect property values?

A study released by NYU’s Furman Center in 2008, accessible here, found that supportive housing does not have a negative impact on nearby property values. According to the New York Times: “In the five years after the developments were opened, the study finds, the prices of buildings nearest the supportive housing development experienced “strong and steady growth”, and appreciated more than comparable properties that were slightly farther away.” Read the piece here.

How does DESC address inappropriate behaviors in the neighborhood?

When tenants move in, they sign an addendum to the lease called the Good Neighbor Policy. This policy prohibits problematic behaviors, such as loitering, panhandling, etc. If a neighbor suspects a DESC tenant is exhibiting concerning behaviors, they should call the front desk, day or night. We want to check on the situation as quickly as possible, and reinforce expectations for tenants. If the individual is not connected with DESC, we still try to help resolve the matter, if possible.

Are the services offered in DESC permanent supportive housing mandatory for residents?

No. Evidence shows that coercing participation in services is not as effective as devising engagement strategies that are attractive to tenants. Voluntary participation rates are very high compared to mandatory service participation.

What is the average time a tenant stays with DESC?

Short answer: as long as they like! For the vast majority of people, their DESC apartment is a permanent home. Often tenants leave only when they need a higher level of care or they pass away.

How can I get involved with the DESC building in my community?

To find out more about volunteering, advocacy work or donating to our building, click here.

How can I stay up to date on DESC’s programs?

You can stay up to date by subscribing to our newsletter here (email to ask at this time), as well as following us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Vimeo. If you are curious to follow the news media coverage we receive, you can find links to articles around the Seattle area here.