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At Home Back to School Edition

Family Affordable Homes in Wallingford


As children across Seattle head back to school for the 2018-2019 academic year, we are highlighting families living at Stone Way Apartments in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle. Stone Way is close to my heart because my own home is nearby and every day I see how kids of all backgrounds make friends and develop connections in our neighborhood schools, Wallingford Boys and Girls Club, our library and our parks. For going on 12 years, the affordable homes at Stone Way Apartments have provided families access to all Wallingford has to offer and enriched our neighborhood.

Bellwether Housing developed and manages Stone Way Apartments. Susan Boyd, Bellwether’s Chief Executive Officer, joins me to explore how affordable homes provide family stability and help kids thrive in school.

Steve Walker
City of Seattle, Office of Housing


How many kids are getting ready to go back to school at Stone Way Apartments?

There are 21 families with 42 kids in school at Stone Way. They attend BF Day Elementary, Hamilton International Middle School and Roosevelt High.

Could you introduce us to a family that lives in the building?

Natasha Hundley and her son Zeke have lived at Stone Way Apartments for almost ten years. Zeke started Kindergarten in Wallingford and he’s now a Sophomore at Roosevelt High School. “It was my dream to live in the vibrant Wallingford neighborhood where my son could attend high quality schools,” says Natasha, who gives back by working as a resident services coordinator helping families maintain housing stability. “I never would have been able to move to this community as a single mom with a job in social services, if it were not for the affordable homes at Stone Way Apartments.”

The Wallingford Boys and Girls Club has also been a resource for Zeke throughout his childhood for after-school programs when he was younger. He is now an active volunteer with the Keystone Club, which provides leadership development opportunities for young people focused on academic success, career preparation and community service.

Natasha also appreciates that her son is growing up in a racially diverse building. She says, “The Stone Way Apartment community offers Zeke the kind of childhood experience I wish I had.”

How did the Stone Way Apartments come together?

As with so many of our developments, Stone Way came together through collaboration with a number of different private, government and nonprofit partners. The Seattle Housing Authority played a critical role by offering a publicly owned property with a sale timeline that allowed Bellwether to secure financing and complete needed environmental remediation. They also support the ongoing operations of the building through the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program, allowing apartments to be rented by extremely low-income households.

The Wallingford neighborhood was a supportive partner in the development and helped us come up with a design that would complement and bring vitality to the neighborhood.

How do you work with Seattle Public Schools to help families living in Bellwether Housing buildings?

0ver 20% of Bellwether’s 3200 residents are school aged children and almost all of them attend Seattle Public Schools. Our resident service coordinators work closely with local schools, educators and families to ensure success for students. We participate in a back-to-school backpack program that provides students with necessary school supplies. We host representatives from local public schools onsite at our buildings for student enrollment events. We work with parents to help them understand necessary paperwork, transportation options, schedules and more.

Susan, in your view, how does affordable housing help kids succeed in school?

When families do not have access to housing that they can afford, they often move frequently, trying to find housing that is stable and affordable. And some families experience periodic homelessness, trying to keep their kids in school in a neighborhood they could once afford but have been priced out of. We know that the anxiety, stress and trauma that comes from these experiences makes it very difficult for kids to be successful in school. The housing that we provide gives families a stable foundation from which they can focus on their education, rather than worry about whether they can afford next month’s rent. And because we focus on providing affordable housing options near the major employment centers of our region, families can spend their after-work time helping their kids with homework, rather than on the freeway in a 90-minute commute between their job and the only affordable housing option available to them.




-MacArthur Foundation. How Housing Matters, Policy Research Brief


What we know – Affordable housing and improving academic outcomes

The Macarthur Foundation’s How Housing Matters is an online resource for the research and practical information on how a quality, stable, affordable home in a vibrant community contributes to individual and community success.

Where a family lives can have a profound effect on a child’s education. To learn more, go to the MacArthur Foundation page How Housing Matters: Housing and Education.


Building Facts: Stone Way Apartments


Year Opened: 2006

Location: Wallingford neighborhood, Seattle

Number of Affordable Homes: 69 Studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments.

People served: Households earning a range of incomes. For example some apartments are reserved for extremely low-income people earning at or below $21,050 per year for 1 person and other apartments serve families of 4 earning at or below $60,200 per year.

Demographics: 27% African American, 13% Asian, 8% Hispanic, 2% American Indian/Alaskan native, 2% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 4% Mixed-race, 43% White

Schools children attend: BF Day Elementary, Hamilton International Middle School, Roosevelt High

Funders: Public resources – Seattle Housing Levy, King County Housing Innovations for Persons with Developmental Disabilities program, the Washington State Housing Trust Fund Private resources – Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and our investor, National Equity Fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a long-term loan on the building from U.S. Bank.

Green building: The building received extensive energy efficiency improvements including compact-fluorescent lighting, central hot water, insulation exceeding code requirements, improved window and door thermal performance, reduced water consumption through native and drought-tolerate plants, high-efficiency irrigation and low-flow fixtures and appliances.


Susan Boyd is Bellwether Housing’s Chief Executive Officer, leading the organization’s overall direction and strategy. She previously served as Bellwether Housing’s Director of Real Estate Development following a 12-year career as an attorney with the firm Kantor Taylor Nelson & Boyd. Susan holds a master’s degree from the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and a law degree from the University of Washington School of Law.

Susan brings over 25 years’ experience in affordable housing finance and development, law and policy, and direct service and management in housing and homeless services. This background gives her a uniquely broad perspective on the intricacies of financing and developing affordable housing, the challenges of operating an organization in a complex regulatory environment, and the importance of building relationships across sectors to accomplish one’s mission. Under Susan’s leadership, Bellwether Housing is expanding its innovative impact investment model to bring local, small scale private investments into affordable housing and forging important partnerships with other mission-driven organizations to increase Bellwether’s impact throughout the region.

Susan has served on the boards of directors of the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle King-County (9 years) and the Seattle King-County Coalition on Homelessness (5 years), and she currently serves on the Policy Committee of the Downtown Seattle Association. She is driven in her work by the belief that we all do better when we all do better.

The Seattle Office of Housing provides support to low-income residents in Seattle through rental housing preservation and production, home buyer assistance, free weatherization services and home repair loans.