SEATTLE — Building off the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI), Major Jenny A. Durkan announced today that Seattle’s Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) is seeking proposals for $30 million for land and property acquisition to respond to disproportionate displacement pressures impacting Black, Indigenous and people of color communities. Requests for Proposals are now open for organizations in high displacement risk neighborhoods, areas with low access to opportunity, and places where future public investments are likely to spur transformational change. In addition to ongoing funding provided by EDI and the Office of Housing, this investment is part of Mayor Durkan’s commitment for $100 million in funding allocated to support Black, Indigenous and people of color communities who face inordinate disparities due to systemic racism and oppression.
“During the pandemic, Seattle continued to be the fastest-growing major U.S. city and we must continue to respond to the displacement pressures that are impacting BIPOC communities,” said Mayor Durkan. “In the years ahead, major public investments like new light rail stations will transform several Seattle neighborhoods. The Strategic Investment Fund is a unique opportunity to support equitable development so that all communities can continue to call Seattle home. Investments of this type will take years to right the wrongs of the past. That’s why I’ve committed to making another $100 million investment as part of my proposed 2022 budget.”
The SIF was created to invest in community wealth building and capital projects that create opportunities for multiple community benefits. The fund will support site acquisition projects that could include: affordable housing, affordable commercial spaces, public open spaces, cultural spaces, and childcare facilities. The fund will consider proposals in areas with significant planned public investments, like light rail station areas and parks, where increased access to opportunities will likely increase displacement pressures.
“Discriminatory practices in public and private investment, disinvestment, and public policy have significantly impacted BIPOC communities, as well as Queer and Transgender BIPOC, people with disabilities, and low-income families,” said Rico Quirindongo, director of the Office of Planning and Community Development. “The Strategic Investment Fund will support site acquisition for major community-led projects in growing and changing neighborhoods.”
The primary objectives of the SIF are:
- Respond to immediate displacement pressures.
- Create long-term impact by strengthening community relationships and creating wealth in historically marginalized communities.
- Co-locate affordable housing with other community benefits, such as affordable commercial spaces, public open spaces, cultural spaces, and childcare facilities.
- Fill gaps in the existing development finance ecosystem.
The Strategic Investment Fund has $30 million available with a maximum of $5 million per award. Sites must be in neighborhoods with high displacement risk and near existing or planned transit and parks investments. Proposals are due July 14 at 11:59 PM.
Eligible Applicants include:
- Community groups at highest risk of displacement
- Commercial or residential tenants at risk of displacement
- Property owners in focus areas interested in discounting their land
- Developers or owners of affordable housing with vacancies in commercial spaces, who are interested in offering community ownership opportunities.
Many urgent and qualified investment opportunities exist in Seattle, and the SIF is unable to accommodate them all. The City of Seattle has created a Community Advisory Group (CAG) comprised of community representatives with diverse experience and expertise in affordable housing, community development, and equitable development to assist in the process of investing SIF funds. The CAG will review land acquisition and investment opportunities to create a list of Recommended Funding Opportunities. This list will inform the Strategic Investment Fund Spending Plan that will be presented to the Mayor and City Council for approval later this summer.
The Strategic Investment Fund is a City-wide effort the involves the Office of Planning and Community Development, Office of Housing, Office of Economic Development, Office of Arts and Culture, City Budget Office, Department of Neighborhoods, and Office of Civil Rights.