Essential Southeast Seattle Collective’s New Online Marketplace

 Essential Southeast Seattle Collective’s New Online Marketplace

Contact: Maria Vargas, maria@homesightwa.org

The Essential Southeast Seattle Collective was formed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. After Sarah Valenta from HomeSight saw a need for uplifting voices of Southeast Seattle businesses, she reached out to other business district advocates. Quickly the Essential Southeast Seattle Collective was formed between five Southeast Seattle Neighborhood Organizations. They all pooled resources together to create an online directory of local businesses that remained open during the pandemic. The pilot program was funded by a $50,000 Comcast grant and is made possible to execute with additional support from HomeSight, DEI Creative, and the Seattle Office of Economic Development

 Fast forward to June 2021, the Essential SE Seattle Collective is proud to announce its newest launch of the Essential Southeast Seattle Marketplace. The Marketplace is an e-commerce platform that connects the community, small business owners, and resources without a cost to small business owners. The website now, allows customers to place orders online and it allows business owners to have access and control over their business profile. The Essential Southeast Seattle Collective is encouraging business owners in Southeast Seattle to claim their free business profile. For more information on claiming your free business account please go here essentialseseattle.com/sign-up or contact Maria Vargas at maria@homesightwa.org. The marketplace is open to independent entrepreneurs, cultural artisans, performers, brick and mortar retailers, and food and service-based organizations.

 Historically, Southeast Seattle neighborhood businesses have been underrepresented and under-resourced. This is why Essential SE Seattle Marketplace strives to provide a one-stop virtual Main Street for our community. Whether you are a business owner, neighbor, or visitor, we work to ensure that you can connect with businesses, customers, and resources.  We envision this site as a vital tool for our community to use in the long term to stay connected in an increasingly digital world.

Brooke Gibson – Agent of Change

Brooke Gibson – Agent of Change


By: Marc Bartel

HomeSight believes a community only thrives when it’s given the opportunities and resources needed to create homeowners, build strong small businesses, and root community anchors. That is why HomeSight strives to provide quality, personalized homeownership opportunities for communities around the state and takes an integrated approach to providing technical assistance and resources to communities with low access to opportunity in Southeast Seattle. That way, communities can build shared prosperity in their unique ways and on their own terms. This is our vision for Washingtonians, and sometimes, when our vision comes to life, we are returned with more than the satisfaction.

In December of 2020, we brought on Brooke Gibson as a Loan Originator, but this wasn’t the first time we had met Brooke. A couple years prior, Brooke came to us to get a preapproval to become a first-time homebuyer. It wasn’t long before she met with our Sr. Loan Originator, Ali, went through the homebuying process, and accomplished her “dream of becoming a homeowner,” says Brooke.

Brooke joined HomeSight with an impressive resume that included working for Arizona State University as the Leading Administrative Coordinator in the School of Technology and Innovation graduate office, then returned to Seattle and began to work for the University of Washington for the Department of Microbiology. From there, she moved over to work for the General Internal Medicine Program where she supported the Medical Director and over 20 nationally recognized faculty members.

In 2012, Brooke wanted to further her education – she enrolled as a full-time student at Seattle University, Albers School of Business and in 2015 she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, with a Major in Business Economics and a minor in International Economic Development.

“My final year inspired to me to look beyond how market conditions impact businesses to the shock they have on the most vulnerable members of society,” says Brooke. “Seattle University provided me with a Jesuit education that inspired me to continue to strive for excellence, through the pursuit of social justice for others and in helping to further shape me into an agent of change.”

Shortly after settling into her new home with her family, Brooke decided that she wanted to change her career. She wanted to utilize her degree in economics in a more meaningful way. Motivated by HomeSight’s mission, and her own experience in the home buying process, Brooke passed her Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS) and reached out to HomeSight to see if there was a Loan Originator position available.

“I wanted to help other people have a sense of security through homeownership and a path towards generational wealth. I’m from Seattle and grew up in the Columbia City neighborhood. I worked for numerous small business owners in my childhood neighborhood along with the City of Seattle Parks & Recreation Department, so, it was only fitting that I would return to my neighborhood.”

We are honored that Brooke chose HomeSight and our mission as she sought out to be an agent of change in her pursuit of social justice, security through homeownership, and a path towards generational wealth for others – something we strongly stand for.

HomeSight Foreclosure Prevention Programs for Pierce & King Counties

By: Marc Bartel & Tom Jacobi

A home is often a family’s most valuable possession. A home provides a sense of security, where love, laugh, happiness and growth prevail. It’s where we (usually) host family dinners, reunions, holidays, parties, or the Seahawks quest for a Super Bowl on a big screen. A home is comfort. And preventing the avoidable loss of that comfort due to foreclosure at an already, unprecedented time, is currently a program now offered by HomeSight.


King County Veterans & Active Military Foreclosure Prevention Loan Program

HomeSight has received $500,000 grant from King County to provide foreclosure prevention loans to Veteran’s and Active Military members facing foreclosure. Households who are behind on their mortgage, property taxes or condo dues can receive a deferred loan if they meet program guidelines.  The program will provide a loan with payments deferred for 30 years at 2% simple interest to homeowners who can resume future payments after receiving this loan.

“I am excited to hear of this grant from King County has been awarded to HomeSight,” says Linh Thai, City Impact Manager at The Mission Continues, a movement that empowers veterans to continue their service, and empowers communities with veteran talent, skills and preparedness to generate visible impact.

Thai continues, “As a leader in the veteran service and advocacy communities for nearly a decade, as well as a community advocate in Seattle in social equity issues, I strongly believe that HomeSight has a stellar record of equitable community development and a model of servant leadership, something that veterans and military service members identify with.  In this COVID-19 environment, I urge veterans who own a home to explore and engage with HomeSight, and other trusted organizations, to utilize this program.”

 

City of Seattle Foreclosure Prevention Loan Program

HomeSight has been awarded $350,000 in new funds to supplement our current City of Seattle foreclosure prevention program. This program can assist income qualified homeowners who are behind on their mortgage, property taxes or condo dues.  This program will provide a loan up to $30,000 with payments deferred for 30 years at 2% simple interest to homeowners who can resume future payments after receiving this loan.

Pierce County Homeowners Received Mortgage Assistance / Foreclosure Prevention Relief in 2020

HomeSight was pleased to partner with the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and HUD approved housing counseling agencies to provide over $470,000 in mortgage assistance grants to 72 homeowners facing housing instability due to the economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Pierce County.  Funded by the federal CARES Act, HomeSight provided up to $8,250 in mortgage payment assistance. If more funds become available from the Federal government, we hope to continue this partnership in 2021.

For more information on these programs, or to start the application process, visit www.homesightwa.org/foreclosure-prevention-programs

These programs are modeled on HomeSight’s successful statewide homeowner stability foreclosure prevention program which provided over $6 million in loans helping over 280 families keep their home during the great recession.

“We are thrilled to be the facilitator of these programs,” says Darryl Smith, Executive Director of HomeSight. “Preventing avoidable foreclosures helps keep families in their homes and preserves the very communities we live, work, and play in.”

Since 1990, HomeSight has worked to preserve and promote economically and culturally diverse communities through affordable homeownership, business development, and community advocacy. We believe that communities can only be strong, vibrant, and equitable if homeownership is attainable, cultural anchors can thrive in place, small businesses and homeowners have access to the knowledge and tools to excel in changing markets, and prosperity is built and shared amongst all members of each unique community.

Plate of Nations Extends its 10th Annual Event

By: Maria Vargas

Plate of Nations was originally scheduled for two weeks in the Spring but was canceled amid the Governor’s shutdown order in March due to COVID-19. During that time, we saw many businesses all over the state close their doors and others struggle to stay. This fall, Plate of Nations has been reimagined to help support the businesses and the families behind them.

This year, for the 10th annual Plate of Nations, they have partnered with Restaurant Week. Seattle Restaurant Week is a promotional event that runs every year in the Fall and Spring. Over 165 restaurants participate in the Pacific Northwest. The event allows diners to sample special menus from local establishments at a great price! Seattle Restaurant Week is a celebration of food across the Pacific Northwest. This year Seattle Restaurant Week will not last a week but instead almost an entire month!  It launched on October 25th and will continue until November.

Understandably not everyone is comfortable dining in like previous years, but do not let that stop you from joining the fun!  Multiple restaurants are offering take-out and delivery services. For a complete list of restaurants participating in Seattle Restaurant Week click  . While you are at it, explore the great filters Seattle Restaurant Week has provided!

Just recently Plate of Nations released a promotional video featuring a few Plate of Nations restaurants to encourage the community to participate and share a photo of their delicious dish on Instagram with the hashtag #2020PON. Check it out here! As you can see in the video Southeast Seattle is a diverse and resilient community, something Plate of Nations aims to celebrate year after. The independently owned and operated restaurants will offer a lunch plate for $20 and a dinner plate for $35, they can also offer a three-course meal like Seattle Restaurant Week has required previous years. Restaurants can also choose to offer an all-day option at either price point. The style of food choices varies by restaurant, to find out more about the special menus explore the Plate of Nations website.

Another change this fall is participation is free to restaurants this year. This allows restaurants to get involved regardless of their ability to pay. The fee is and that is something many small businesses cannot afford during this pandemic. While both organizations are unsure, they will continue this arrangement into next year, Seattle Restaurant Week and Plate of Nations are really putting businesses first this Fall.

While many things have changed this year, community has not. Sarah Valenta, Community and Business Development Manager at HomeSight says, “Each of the meals that come from the restaurants are meant to bring people together to share the plate. So, its community building as well as supporting the restaurant.” This is a great way to show support to the many businesses struggling during this time. Don’t forget to share your picture with Plate of Nations using #2020PON!

EAT OUT. TAKE OUT. HELP OUT.

OCT 25 – NOV 22

Participating Plate of Nation Restaurants:

      • Amy’s Merkato located in Hillman City
      • Bananas Grill located in Rainier Vista
      • Bang Bang Kitchen located in Othello
      • Buddha Bruddah located in Mt. Baker
      • Café Ibex located in Mt. Baker
      • Café Red located in Othello
      • Hoang Lan located in Othello
      • Kaffa Coffee located in Rainier Beach
      • Little Chengdu located in Mt. Baker
      • Nikos Gryos located in Beacon Hill
      • Othello Wok Teriyaki located in Othello
      • Qeerroo located in Rainier Beach
      • Rainier Restaurant located in Brighton
      • Tacos Street located in Othello
      • Tacos Chukis located in Beacon Hill
      • The Comfort Zone located in Columbia City
      • The Original Philly’s located in Mt. Baker
      • Union Bar & Restaurant located Rainier Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sustaining and Building the Value in Our Community

By: Chloe Wattles

In January of 2020, Seattle had one of the first known confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States. Due to the severity of the outbreak, Seattle quickly closed access to local businesses in efforts to protect the health of everyone, in return, small business owners suffered from significant losses in revenue.

Southeast Seattle is home to over 1,000 small businesses that impact and serve residents from all over the Puget Sound and beyond. These establishments make up the rich culture that Southeast Seattle is known for. Most of these businesses are owned by persons of color, immigrants, refugees, and women.

At HomeSight it is our belief that one way to preserve and promote economically and culturally diverse communities is to authentically represent through business development and community advocacy. Small businesses having access to the knowledge and tools needed to excel in changing markets is vital to this belief.

Preserving the fabric of our community – Small Business Support Grants Round 1

April 6, 2020
To combat the threat of financial devastation brought by COVID-19, HomeSight partnered with other financial establishments such as Lucky Seven Foundation, RVCDF, Wells Fargo, Umpqua Bank, and NeighborWorks America to create the Small Business Support Grant. Grants could be used for a wide range of business needs such as: marketing strategies, business loan costs, bookkeeping and accounting, advertising, business association membership dues, business planning, legal support resources, business tax preparation, equipment and fixtures, minor repairs, business taxes, permits and licensing fees, as well as working capital to thrive in these trying times.

Determined to quickly ease the burden brought by COVID-19, HomeSight, two weeks after announcing the grants, awarded $5,000 to 30 Southeast Seattle Small Businesses out of 250 applications.

“These funds are a bloodline for our business and moral for our determination to continue the business in this time,” says Filli Abdulkdra, owner of Amy’s Merkato restaurant.

Highlighting essential businesses

April 10, 2020
Due to most businesses, parks, and other recreation being closed or having a massive change of hours, it made it almost impossible to know what establishments were still in operation. To help promote business traffic and help the community have a destination to venture to, HomeSight, in partnership with Martin Luther King Business Association, Beacon Business Alliance, Mt. Baker Hub, Rainier Avenue Business Coalition, Columbia City Business Association, and Rainier Beach Merchants, launched a website that allows users to find essential businesses in Southeast Seattle.

Sarah Valenta, the Community & Business Development Manager at HomeSight wanted to launch the website in connection with the Small Business Support Grant, with the intent to help support the local economy.

“We are trying to respond to the needs of not only the business community, but the residents in Southeast Seattle,” says Valenta. “We want to connect those residents to the open essential businesses in an effort to support our local economy.”

The Seattle Office of Economic Development helped in this effort by funding the development of the Essential Southeast Seattle website (www.essentialseseattle.org), and having HomeSight oversee the domain.

Round 2 of grants

June 1, 2020
Providing capital to those 30 small businesses is essential to not only the local economy, but to the community as well. However, the work was not done. Out of the 250+ applicants, only 30 were able to be awarded, and because of this, HomeSight, along with partners and the selfless donations from the community, came together again to fund more applicants with the Small Business Support Grant.

From the original 250+ applicants, excluding those who had been awarded before, 20 more businesses were awarded $5,000 from the newly acquired $100,000 that was compiled by HomeSight and funding partners from Seattle Foundation, Union Bank, and Verity Credit Union.

“We are honored to be selected in this round of funding and we know that it could not have been an easy decision given the great need that is all around us,” said Hale Taihia of Aganuu Faasomoa 101 USA. “Having this funding will help keep our Seal of Biliteracy and Mental Health Counseling programs intact for the foreseeable future.”

HomeSight is happy to be able to have such a valuable impact on the community and economy. Since it is HomeSight’s mission to preserve and promote economically and culturally diverse communities, we are still actively working with funding partners and accepting donations to put toward a third round of small business grants. Darryl Smith, Executive Director at HomeSight, is committed to this mission.

“For 30 years, HomeSight has been an invested partner in the community,” says Smith. “It’s incredibly important that we support and stand with the small businesses that help the diversity of our community prosper.”

If you are considering helping with the effort to raise money for the Small Business Support Grant program to help preserve the unique and vibrant business community, donations are still actively being accepted.

Helping local organizations and programs thrive during COVID-19

Not only did COVID-19 hit small businesses, it also had a significant impact on the people in the community.

Seeing that something needed to be done to preserve the local organizations and programs that so many Southeast Seattle residents and children rely on, Faduma Ahmed, Integration Manager at HomeSight, along with Darryl Smith, Executive Director of HomeSight, began raising money to help support these local organizations and programs. This resulted in donating $28,500 to six local organizations and programs.

One of the awarded organizations was Urban Family. Their focus is providing care and food packs to families in need of essential goods and vital food basics. This organization concentrates on serving African American and Polynesian families who live in low income and underserved apartment complexes large and small in Skyway & Rainier Beach. Since the packs cost $15 each, 300 families were able to receive care and food packs with the $4,500 Urban Family received from HomeSight.

“Because of HomeSight’s generous support, we were able to support hundreds (1,243) of youth and families in need,” says Paul Patu, executive director and co-founder of Urban Family. “Targeting families who are experiencing homelessness, high CPS calls, domestic and physical abuse.”

Going Forward

With all of us not knowing when things will become familiar again, and families and communities still needing help, HomeSight and many other organizations and programs are continuing their work to raise funds for the Small Business Support Grants, and donations to local organizations and programs.

All of these organizations and programs – big or small, local or counties away – coming together for the common goal of helping the Southeast Seattle community is something that proves that hope and comradery will get us all through these trying times.

HomeSight will continue their mission to preserve and promote economically and culturally diverse communities, especially during these times, through community advocacy, and helping small businesses have access to the knowledge and tools they need to thrive in the changing market.

HomeSight names Darryl Smith as the new Executive Director

HomeSight, a 501(c)(3) CDFI and Community Development Corporation, is pleased to announce Darryl Smith as their new Executive Director.

We are very excited to announce that on January 21st, Darryl Smith will be joining us as HomeSight’s new Executive Director. Currently, Darryl is the Site Director of Higher Education Programs at Year Up Puget Sound where he has been leading Year Up’s college and CBO partnerships for opportunity youth. Prior to that, Darryl served as Deputy Mayor of Seattle under Mayor Mike McGinn where he oversaw the Office of Housing, the Office of Economic Development, the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, and the Department of Neighborhoods. He is a long-time, dedicated community volunteer who makes his home in Columbia City.

HomeSight’s staff and board are delighted to have found such a qualified and experienced leader who is intimately familiar with Seattle’s diverse communities and their needs. We are confident that Darryl is the right person to lead our organization into the future.

Thank you,

Michael Dotson
Board President

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