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Mayor Jenny Durkan to Nominate Office of Housing Acting Director Emily Alvarado to Serve as Permanent Director 

Alvarado Has Served at City’s Office of Housing Since 2014 

City Has Made Unprecedented New Investments in Affordable Housing Since Mayor Durkan Took Office 

SEATTLE (September 5, 2019) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced today she will nominate the City’s Office of Housing (OH) Acting Director Emily Alvarado to serve as the department’s permanent Director.   

“Our housing crisis is one of the central challenges facing Seattle, and we must continue to create more affordable and mixed-income housing across Seattle. As we continue to make new, unprecedented investments in housing, the next few years will be critical ones for OH and our entire City,” said Mayor Durkan. “Emily is passionate about creating a more affordable, inclusive Seattle for all our neighbors, and she is committed to centering racial equity and social justice. She has been key to delivering on our Housing Seattle Now initiative to make historic investments in housing for this generation and the next. She will also play a critical role as we work to ensure our workers and middle income families can live in Seattle. I know that Emily is the right person to continue leading the Office of Housing.” 

“It is an honor for me to join Mayor Durkan’s administration at a pivotal time for our growing city.” said Emily Alvarado. “Housing is a basic human need, but it is so much more than that. Housing is a launching pad for children’s success, it is the connection to family and cultural communities, jobs and opportunity. Building affordable housing is essential urban infrastructure that helps to ensure we are an equitable and inclusive city. I look forward to working with community partners and the skilled team at the Office of Housing to build a city that people of all incomes can call home.” 

Emily has spent over a decade in the public and nonprofit sectors, working to build a more equitable and inclusive Puget Sound Region. Emily was the Manager of Policy and Equitable Development at the City of Seattle Office of Housing, where she led policy and program development, place-based equitable development work, and affordable housing incentive programs. Emily spent several years at nonprofit organizations engaged in affordable housing and community benefits policy and advocacy efforts, including at the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County, the Housing Consortium of Everett and Snohomish County, and Pittsburgh UNITED. Emily has a JD from the University of Washington, where she was a Gates Public Service Law Scholar, and bachelor’s degree from Scripps College. 

“I am thrilled to support Mayor Durkan’s nomination of Emily Alvarado to lead the Office of Housing,” said Colleen Echohawk, Executive Director of Chief Seattle Club and C-Chair of Mayor Durkan’s Office of Housing Director Search Committee. “I know that under Emily’s leadership, we can continue to best serve people with a wide range of housing and service needs. At Chief Seattle Club, we work to support the physical, cultural and spiritual needs of people in the Native community, and I look forward to Emily’s continued partnership as we work to achieve these important goals.” 

“I applaud Mayor Durkan’s nomination of Emily Alvarado to lead the Office of Housing.” said Marty Kooistra, Executive Director of the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County and Co-Chair of Mayor Durkan’s Office of Housing Director Search Committee. “The affordable housing community looks forward to working with her on a strengthened and broadened mission for the department to address the critical need for more affordable homes in our city and region.” 

The Seattle Office of Housing, an executive office of the Mayor, increases opportunities for families of all incomes to live in our city. For over 30 years, the City has managed investments from the Seattle Housing Levy and incentive programs for developers to fund the preservation and production of affordable apartments and homes in Seattle. To date, nearly 12,000 affordable units have been funded and over 1,500 have been created through incentives. The Office of Housing has also provided home repair and weatherization programs for lower-income resident for over 30 years, helping over 17,000 households remain in their homes. 

As part of Mayor Durkan’s “Housing Seattle Now” plan to address Seattle’s housing crisis, the City has provided a surge of new investments in housing for low- and middle-income families. As part of “Housing Seattle Now,” Mayor Durkan has: 

  • In partnership with Councilmember Lisa Herbold, updated City’s tenant protections to better help residents stay in their homes; 
  • Transmitted legislation to renew and improve the Multi-Family Tax Exemption program by limiting rent increases so homes can stay affordable; 
  • In partnership with Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, invested $50 million in permanent supportive housing for people experiencing long-term homelessness; and 
  • Announced sale of the underutilized City properties at Mercer Street, which amounts to nearly $300 million in public benefits for the people of Seattle.