As many of our Readers may be aware, the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) is proposing building a Supportive Housing apartment building in Burien.

An 8-story building with around 95 units is proposed to be built at 801 SW 150th Street in summer 2021 (map below). Of the 95 studio apartments, 25 will be reserved for disabled veterans experiencing homelessness.

So far, DESC has held two online informational meetings about the project (see #1 here and #2 here), which will be on the agenda for the next Burien City Council meeting (view/download agenda item here).

The property sale is due to close in Fall 2021, and DESC plans to start construction in 2022. Tenants would starting moving in in Spring 2023.

At its upcoming Monday night (April 5, 2021) meeting, the Burien City Council will discuss and most likely make a decision on DESC’s proposal as part of the city’s Affordable Housing Demonstration Program.

“Staff finds that the proposal meets the criteria for acceptance into the Affordable Housing Demonstration Program and recommends selection of DESC as a participant in the Affordable Housing Demonstration Program,” the city says in the agenda item.

Organizers at DESC sent us the following and asked us to share:

DESC ANSWERS QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BURIEN PROJECT

As we engage with our neighbors about DESC Burien Supportive Housing (https://www.desc.org/what-we-do/housing/burien/), we’re excited about this development and what it means for the Burien community. Some 66 of your neighbors have written to support the project (https://b-townblog.com/2021/03/22/letter-65-community-members-show-support-for-new-desc-burien-housing-project/). There have been many questions and we’d like to make sure people have answers!

Initial development discussions with St. Vincent de Paul in early 2020 helped us recognize there is unmet need in Burien and that the community here is a welcoming one. We began a search for other properties in the area in the spring and early summer.

    • DESC signed the property purchase and sale agreement with the owner of the Burien Professional Center at 801 SW 150th Street in summer 2020.
    • DESC began discussions with the City of Burien in September 2020 about applying to the Affordable Housing Demonstration Program.
    • In November, DESC submitted its Affordable Housing Demonstration Program application for the DESC Burien Supportive Housing project.
    • DESC has carefully followed the expectations and requirements of the Burien neighborhood outreach process.
    • The sale is due to close in Fall 2021.
    • DESC plans to start construction in 2022.
    • Tenants will move in in spring 2023.

DESC Burien will be an apartment building with supports for the people who live there. It is not a shelter or a crisis center. The tenants will be part of the community.

    • We are building single-occupancy, affordable rental units for single adults of any gender who are disabled and have experienced long-term homelessness.
    • Of the 95 studio apartments, 25 will be reserved for disabled veterans experiencing homelessness.
    • On-site supportive services such as case management, some meals, and visiting healthcare services help ensure long-term success.
    • DESC will own and operate the building after construction.
    • Tenants sign and must abide by leases. DESC’s tenants have the typical rights and responsibilities of tenants in rental housing units.
    • Most tenants will stay for as long as they live, or until they need higher levels of care.
    • DESC staff is on site 24/7.

The future tenants will likely already be residing in Burien, but without safe and secure housing.

    • DESC sees unmet need in Burien among the population group we serve and a community wanting to address affordable housing needs.
    • DESC intends to work with local Burien service organizations such as LEAD, REACH, Catholic Community Services, and Navos (to name a few) to find local individuals who need supportive housing. DESC staff will then assist these individuals to access King County’s Coordinated Entry for All system which is the primary pipeline for DESC’s applicants.

This location is zoned for this type of multi-unit building, and was chosen for its proximity to amenities. It is near a transit hub, grocery stores and other amenities.

    • We think this area will see more residential development.
    • DESC seeks to participate in the Affordable Housing Demonstration Program, which impresses us as a sign of Burien’s intent to be a community for all.

Our buildings require minimal parking spaces.

    • DESC tenants rarely own vehicles.
    • On-site services are provided only to the building’s tenants.
    • There will be three spaces on site for DESC vehicles.
    • DESC staff are offered subsidized metro cards which also reduces our parking needs.

We’re excited that the building will incorporate green features, including:

    • Solar panels
    • Real-time monitoring and intervention of excessive water use or leaks
    • Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) to recycle heat from exhausted air
    • Bio-retention planters and
    • Landscaping to add trees and green space on SW 150th St and 8th Ave.

We would like to use local construction labor and fit it within our public funding contract compliance requirements.

    • DESC and its general contractor will work with the City and County to identify local businesses to contact. The general contractor will hold a pre-bid informational meeting for all interested local subcontractors.
    • As a publicly funded development, we pay prevailing wage for all trades during the construction process.

DESC will help current businesses on the site to relocate elsewhere in Burien, so that they can continue to provide needed services to the community.

    • There are 12 leases in the Burien Professional Center currently and DESC is carrying a budget to assist each and every one in meeting their specific needs in concert with the federal Uniform Relocation Act.
    • We will begin relocation conversations and efforts as soon as we purchase the property this fall.

For much more information about DESC Burien, please read these project FAQs on our website (https://www.desc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/DESC-Burien-Supportive-Housing-FAQs-Updated-3.30.21.pdf). You can also watch DESC’s second informational meeting on the proposed Burien project here (https://b-townblog.com/2021/03/30/video-watch-descs-second-informational-meeting-on-proposed-burien-affordable-housing-project/).

Read our extensive coverage of the DESC project here.