Rainier Valley Affordable Homeownership Initiative

Initiative Overview

Seattle's Rainier Valley is one of the region's most culturally and economically diverse neighborhoods, and it is also a neighborhood facing significant displacement pressures. Through close partnerships with Sound Transit and community-based organizations rooted in the Rainier Valley, the Office of Housing's Rainier Valley Homeownership Initiative aims to:

  • Create at least 100 for-sale homes, permanently affordable to low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers;
  • Mitigate displacement of current Rainier Valley residents who are being priced out of this transit-rich area, and encourage opportunities for displaced Rainier Valley residents to return to the area;
  • Conduct affirmative marketing to communities least likely to apply, including Black, Indigenous, and other households of color who historically have been systematically and disproportionately excluded from homeownership opportunities;
  • Build the capacity of community-based organizations to participate in the development and/or long-term stewardship of community assets; and
  • Be responsive to community identified needs and priorities to determine outcomes for non-residential spaces to be developed alongside affordable housing.


From 2017-2018, in response to community calls for more affordable homeownership in the Rainier Valley, the Seattle Office of Housing (OH) worked with Sound Transit (ST) to identify a number of Sound Transit-owned surplus sites to make available for affordable housing development. Sound Transit properties, originally purchased for construction purposes, were assessed in terms of suitability and capacity for homeownership development.  The 10 sites identified are located along MLK Jr. Way S, spanning from the Mt. Baker Link light rail station to the Rainier Beach Link light rail station.

Building on the successful partnership between OH and Sound Transit, which has resulted in the completion of several large-scale multi-family, affordable housing joint-development projects, Sound Transit successfully requested that the Federal Transit Administration relinquish their financial interest in the sites, allowing the properties to be transferred to the City at no-cost. Given the current costs of land and development, this no-cost transfer was necessary for the success of this initiative.

Based on community input solicited in the summer of 2019 through community engagement efforts led by OH, Sound Transit, Puget Sound Sage, and members of South CORE, Sound Transit and OH continued to pursue the transfer. In October 2020, the Sound Transit Board adopted Resolution 2020-17, which declared the sites suitable for housing and authorized staff to negotiate a no-cost transfer of the sites to the City of Seattle for that purpose. In February of 2021 the key business terms of the transfer agreement were approved, and the Seattle City Council approved acceptance of the properties in May of 2021.

Over the course of the next several years, and through a series of Requests for Proposals (RFPS) published by OH, no fewer than 100 affordable homes will be built and sold to homebuyers with incomes of 80% of AMI or below.

What is Happening Now

The Office of Housing is committed to meaningful engagement with organizations rooted in Rainier Valley communities. The goal of this initiative is to create permanently affordable homeownership opportunities for current and displaced Rainier Valley residents to not only be first in line to purchase these homes but to ultimately be successful in doing so.

The first three sites were released via Request for Proposals (RFPs) on April 22, 2022. OH received two proposals for each site. OH entered into negotiations with Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County to develop all three sites. 

The next four sites were released via Request for Proposals (RFPs) on March 24, 2023. They include: 

  • 7908 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. - Homestead Community Land Trust: 8 three-bedroom units (Total: 8 units, estimated completion 2025)
  • 6740 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. - African Community Housing & Development and Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties: 10 one-bedroom units, 20 two-bedroom units (Total: 30 units, estimated completion 2026)
  • 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. - African Community Housing & Development and Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties: 9 one-bedroom units, 22 two-bedroom units, (Total: 31 units, estimated completion 2026)
  • 4865 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. - African Community Housing & Development and Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties: 3 four-bedroom units (Total: 3 units, estimated completion 2026)

The remaining four sites will be released in 2024.

Sign up HERE to receive RVAHI RFPs and updates.



Maiko Winkler-Chin, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 5700, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94725, Seattle, WA , 98124-4725
Phone: (206) 684-0721
Fax: (206) 233-7117

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We partner to create affordable housing by equitably investing to prevent displacement and increase opportunities for people to live in Seattle.