March 2017 Newsletter

In This Issue:

Final SEOC Project Design Meeting Scheduled for April 8th

To live or work in Southeast Seattle is to be immersed in an ethnically diverse immigrant and refugee population and granted access to flavorful and cultural cuisines. Whether you are driving south or northbound into the Othello neighborhood, you encounter ‘Hello Othello’ language signposts extending a familiar greeting. Othello and other Southeast Seattle neighborhoods are home to immigrants and refugees from across the globe who fled wars, famine, and economic disparity. They also came to seek educational and professional opportunities, or were simply driven by an aspiration to bring their families to a new country. These distinct groups transported a wealth of tradition into SE Seattle and build a community by congregating together, learning from one another, and collaborating supportively. Most importantly, they embraced what it means to live the American Dream by establishing businesses in pursuit of anchoring their families here.

Artboard-1.pngThe neighborhood has not been immune to Seattle’s economic boom, rising rents and home prices. What has sustained this community, however, isn’t always just help from outside but rather the resiliency and strength of those within it. In fact, residents, cultural, and community organizations are currently coming together to mitigate lack of employment and housing opportunities in SE Seattle with a community-driven project called the Southeast Economic Opportunity Center.

The Southeast Economic Opportunity Center (SEOC), which is planned for the southwest corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. and S. Othello St., is a uniquely cohesive, culturally-competent, and welcoming gateway center. The campus is designed to represent the diverse and international nature of Southeast Seattle. Thanks to the involvement and feedback from residents, cultural, and community organizations, gathered across four community meetings and a community survey, the values of the community are imbedded into the design of the project. The campus prioritizes jobs, access to social and health services, and both educational and professional development for Southeast Seattle.

We ask you to now lend your support for the project by joining us April 8th at 10:30 a.m. at the Ethiopian Community Center as we present how community feedback influenced project design and the feasibility plan for the project as we move forward in developing a final proposal to Seattle Housing Authority to finalize acquisition of the land. Your presence will help show how much this project means to our community! We’ll see you April 8th!

Be sure to share the event with your friends on Facebook!

NeighborhoodLIFT Expands to Pierce and Snohomish Counties

NeighborhoodLIFT has expanded to Snohomish and Pierce Counties! NeighborhoodLIFT - a partnership between HomeSight, NeighborWorks America, and Wells Fargo - provides qualified homebuyers with up to $7,500 in fully forgivable, 0% interest matching funds that can be used toward down payment and closing costs on qualifying homes in King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties.LIFT-Header-e1465156897883.png

Since the launch of LIFT in July 2016, HomeSight has used these matching funds to help over 75 families and individuals purchase homes in King County alone. NeighborhoodLIFT is a unique program in that there are no minimum income requirements. That means borrowers can earn up to 100% of area median income (click here for income limits chart) and that only the borrower’s income, rather than household income, is used to qualify. This allows for a broader range of homebuyers to access LIFT funds. and with the new expansion into Pierce & Snohomish Counties we’re excited for these funds to go even further!

If you have any questions about the NeighborhoodLIFT program – please contact our LIFT Program Coordinator, Renai Mielke at

Meet the Home(Sight) Team

Lilly Cantwell
A reflective Lilly Cantwell. Photo courtesy Lilly Cantwell.

What do you get when you pair a Greek goddess and Star Trek character? Lilly Cantwell’s cats. Yup, that would be Athena and (James) Tiberius (Kirk). We hear Athena may live up to her name while Tiberius…let’s just say he’s referenced more often by one of his nicknames, Tibs or Tibby.

The fact that Lilly named her cats after what can amount to two very opposite characters tells you a lot about her. As HomeSight’s Office Coordinator, you’ll see her at the front desk wrangling tasks (and people) as opposite as a Greek goddess and captain of a starship. One moment she’ll be talking you through your homebuyer education course registration and the next she’ll be organizing Pi(e) Day for the staff to enjoy some homemade baked goods. Great skills to have when you wrangling the Athenas and Tibbys of the world. Read more about Lilly Cantwell in the newest edition of The Home Team.

The Home Team: Lilly Cantwell, Office Coordinator

Is it true that you grew up on a boat?

Yes, I pretty much grew up in Ballard (well, Shilshole Marina to be exact) on a 32-foot sailboat. My parents are actually still aboard and I would love to live on a boat again someday. Most likely without my parents this time, though.

So, you can sail then?

I can sail. However, I can’t repair a diesel engine. You should know both if you plan to sail at any great lengths. That is, unless you just want to be totally reliant on the wind.

I heard you came to HomeSight by way of New Zealand. What were you doing down there?

I was actually working at a ski resort. New Zealand has this awesome working holiday visa where if you’re under 30 years old they allow you to work in their country for up to a year. I was just looking to do something different and so made my way down there. Plus, I had some family in that area (Lilly’s mother is Australian) so it was a two-fer deal where I got to spend a year in New Zealand and visit family.

You have a cat named after Captain Kirk. Are you a Trekkie?

I am a bit of a Trekkie. I’ve watched three seasons of the original series and have gone to things like Comi-Cons (Emerald City and Geek Girl).

You actually knew someone on staff before you started. What’s the story behind that?

I was an AmeriCorp VISTA and when I did my training for the program, I met Rachel (that would be Rachel Eagan, HomeSight’s Data Analyst). We did our training together and then didn’t speak again for a few years. Next thing I know, I interviewed and got the job at HomeSight and Rachel reaches out on Facebook saying she thinks we’d met before. Indeed, we had! Very small world.

Any fun facts?

My middle name is “Freelove.” It’s a family name, my great aunt was Freelove Burns. I know. Her name sounds straight out of some 70s movie.