Low income housing comes to Bellevue, fills up fast

by: Joanna Small Updated:

Rent at this building will be less than $500 for some -- but it's already full.

BELLEVUE, Wash. - What were supposed to be market rate apartments are now some of the first affordable housing units in Bellevue, but they're in such high demand they're already full -- and they just opened.

A brand new three-bedroom in beautiful, downtown Bellevue will cost you a whole lot less than you think.

"Our starting rents are at $400,” said Sharon Lee, Executive Director of Seattle’s Low Income Housing Institute.

Tuesday was the grand opening of August Wilson Place.  

If you're a single person making $37,000 or less -- 60 percent of the city's median income -- welcome home, but 300 applications poured in for just 57 units.

Tracey Claybon is grateful to have secured one; she was in a women's shelter before she moved into August Wilson last month.

"Incredible -- it still feels a bit like a dream,” she said of moving into the building. “I don't have the accurate words to tell you how much better it is."

The Low Income Housing Institute says the idea is to give blue-collar Bellevue workers a way to live where they work.

"Look who is living here -- these are employees of QFC, Best Buy, Panera Bread, Red Robin, Cheese Cake Factory,” said Lee at a ceremony celebrating the building’s official opening.

We checked -- and an apartment across the street would cost you about $1,200 a month for a studio. 

Tracey pays just $500 at August Wilson and for about 100 more square feet. 

The mayor of Bellevue says it’s a real problem.

“I agree -- it truly is a miracle in this economy to be able to do this,” said Claudia Balducci. 

Tracey makes $12 an hour. 

She says before August Wilson, she had a choice -- an impossible choice: "I can afford to live here. I can afford to eat AND live here -- which with the way things go, it can be difficult,” she concluded.

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