MultiCare Invests $5 Million in Forterra Fund to Improve Community Health through Affordable Housing

Investment in Forterra’s Strong Communities Fund II supports a sustainable model for creating community-driven affordable housing in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood

TACOMA, Wash. —MultiCare Health System is proud to announce a $5 million investment in affordable housing in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood through Forterra’s Strong Communities Fund II (SCF II), which partners with communities to lower the cost of home ownership.

The new community-designed project will have four buildings with an anticipated 300 homes and approximately 25,000 square feet of commercial space. Half of all the housing provided will be attainably priced for local Hilltop residents.

When there’s limited affordable housing options, families and individuals may have to spend most or a large part of their income on acquiring or maintaining secure housing. This burden can mean that people are not able to pay for things such as health care or healthy food. This can have lifelong, adverse effects on a person’s health, and research shows that affordable housing can decrease the risk of diseases, mental health problems and other health issues.

“Our mission is focused on partnering with communities for healing and a healthy future, and this attainable housing project is a huge step forward for community health,” said MultiCare CEO and president Bill Robertson. “This is MultiCare’s first investment in a project of this kind, and we’re glad that it’s in one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Tacoma.”

The Hilltop community of Tacoma has been the center of Black culture in the South Sound for generations, and the neighborhood is experiencing rapid gentrification that threatens to displace long-time residents and businesses. Housing prices in Tacoma are among the fastest rising in the nation, and the impact of increasing prices is magnified in the diverse and resilient Hilltop community, where housing has become unaffordable to its residents.

In 2019, Hilltop community leaders reached out to Forterra to help secure a key property at the heart of the Hilltop community, which was vacant for many years. That same year, Forterra bought the property at the corner of MLK Jr. Way and S. 11th Street through its Strong Communities Fund, and immediately began working with the Hilltop community to create a housing model for area residents that is attainable in the short term and affordable over the long term.

For the past two years, Forterra has worked with local community engagement partners, including Fab-5, to address the community’s needs for attainable homes and affordable space for locally-owned BIPOC shops and restaurants, in a development that will incorporate Hilltop culture and art into this block. This new community-designed project contemplates four buildings with an anticipated 300 homes and approximately 25,000 square feet of commercial space. Half of all the housing provided will be priced to be attainable to local Hilltop residents with an anticipated groundbreaking in fall 2023.

“MultiCare’s investment in SCF II puts those funds into a vehicle directly designed to build attainable and sustainable homes in under-resourced communities,” said Forterra president and CEO Michelle Conner. “We are pleased that the MultiCare’s holistic perspective of wellness leads back to healthy, affordable homes that resist displacement of a long-standing community.”

Learn more about the Hilltop Project here.

11th & MLK Concept Study SW Drawing
A concept drawing of a Hilltop residential building from Mithun, a design firm.

 

ABOUT STRONG COMMUNITIES FUND II

Forterra believes that the health of our smaller communities is vital to the sustainability of the Pacific Northwest. In 2019, Forterra launched SCF II to leverage investment in opportunity zones that will anchor communities and revitalize economies. Forterra’s forest-to-home model, enshrined in the Strong Communities Fund II, is an opportunity zone fund which invests in federally designated economically distressed areas.

ABOUT FORTERRA

Forterra is an unconventional land trust that works across Washington’s communities and landscapes, from the ranches and shrub-steppe of the Yakima basin, to the estuaries, farms and forests of Washington’s coast, reaching more than 100 counties, cities, towns and rural communities. Working cooperatively with people and nature, Forterra drives land stewardship, management and planning; innovative programs and policies; farming and forestry approaches; community ownership opportunities; and development solutions. Visit www.Forterra.org.

ABOUT MULTICARE

MultiCare is a not-for-profit health care organization with more than 20,000 team members, including employees, providers and volunteers. MultiCare has been caring for our community for well over a century, since the founding of Tacoma’s first hospital and today is the largest community-based, locally governed health system in the state of Washington.

MultiCare’s comprehensive system of health includes numerous primary care, urgent care and specialty services — including MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care, Pulse Heart Institute and MultiCare Rockwood Clinic, the largest multispecialty clinic in the Inland Northwest region.

MultiCare’s network of care includes 11 hospitals:

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