Housing

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen funds facility for homeless Seattle families

Billionaire Paul Allen responds to the state of emergency in Seattle with a $30m gift.

Two years ago the mayor of Seattle declared a state of emergency over the city’s homelessness problem.

Now one of its most famous – and wealthy – sons, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is to donate $30m to a housing facility for 100 low-income and homeless families.

Allen – the world’s 40th richest person – will help to cover design and construction of the complex, with the city contributing another $5m.

Non-profit organisation Mercy Housing Northwest will run the homes and operating costs will be covered by donations.

Residents of this type of permanent housing generally pay no more than 30 per cent of their income for rent.

Mayor Ed Murray declared a state of emergency over homelessness in 2015 and the city is seeking to set aside 0.1 per cent of county sales tax to fund homelessness initiatives.

The facility will include a service centre open to residents and the wider community.

“This comprehensive approach is exactly what we need to fund,” Murray said. “It is the kind of thing that makes a difference.”

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