Kawabe House is located at 221 18th Ave South, in Seattle’s Central District. Please call (206) 322-4550 for more information and to check on unit availability.
Kawabe Memorial House, founded in 1969, is home to seniors 62 years of age and older, most are first generation immigrants.
Kawabe Memorial House is a Retirement Housing Community located just east of the International District, with views of downtown Seattle, Elliott Bay, the Cascades and Olympic Mountains. It is a ten-story building that is home to 180 residents with an average age of 76, in 154 view apartments.
Harry S. Kawabe, successful entrepreneur and community leader, saw a need for affordable housing for seniors. Kawabe is the realization of this dream. It was built in 1972 as a HUD Senior Housing complex and was designed for independent senior adults who want to enjoy a lifestyle filled with recreational, educational and social activities with the convenience and security of community living.
Kawabe is a private non-profit organization governed by a corporate Board of Directors. Kawabe Memorial House provides quality, secure affordable housing and culturally sensitive programs and services to fulfill the vision, legacy, and philosophy of Mr. & Mrs. Harry Kawabe. Although it is independent living, there are a variety of supportive services including: arranging transportation to doctors, grocery shopping, housekeeping and group recreational outings; full Korean and Japanese translating services; one daily meal; monthly visits by a nurse for complete health screening; Tai chi; a full schedule of activities such as calligraphy, flower arranging, bingo, birthday parties, shigin (Japanese singing), etc. They also have a computer center for the tenants’ use that has both Korean and Japanese language capabilities. There is an in-house service coordinator.
Partnering with many groups in the community, Kawabe has opened their facility to as many as 28 community groups for classes and activities. The residents can take free classes, and those in the community can participate in low cost classes and activities. Kawabe is an International Nutrition Site, offering a lunch program seven days a week for those community members 60 years and older, serving on average 45 people a day. Menus are translated into English, Japanese and Korean. Kawabe was chosen to be one of eleven sites for the Central Area Garden tour for their beautifully renovated garden area. The residents maintain the flowers, as they have a strong sense of community and see Kawabe as their home.
There is an incredible sense of community among the residents, which is evident in the support they give for the special projects at Kawabe. They helped raise $10,000 for the garden restoration project by holding bake sales and rummage sales. With the help of an Arts grant, the residents assembled a panel to choose an artist who designed sixteen postcards that tell life pieces of some of the residents. The postcard captions are printed in two languages. As part of the same project, the residents recorded their life stories in mixed languages to be shared at a listening station installed at Kawabe.
Kawabe is an affordable housing facility that has developed a variety of funding alternatives. We have established a foundation to accept donations, money from fundraisers and grants to help with renovation projects. Kawabe sold granites and benches in the garden as memorials as well as opening the facility for memorial services. In the future, Kawabe Memorial House would like to continue renovating the building, ensuring that it will be there for generations to come.
Residents have a strong sense of community and there are frequent parties to celebrate their fundraising milestones, birthdays and other special occasions. All meetings are translated into English, Japanese and Korean as many residents do not speak English, so the pace is slower and more relaxed.
As a nonprofit organization, Kawabe is first and foremost mission driven. They are always providing comfort and support to the residents. They include the residents in the decision-making processes of the many projects and have an active Residents’ Council.
Kawabe Memorial House is a member of Aging Services of Washington, a state association serving primarily not-for-profit organizations, dedicated to providing quality housing, health, community and related services to older persons. Aging Services of Washington is affiliated with the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA). When asked what it means to be an Aging Services member, Connie Devaney, Executive Director of Kawabe Memorial House, stated, “We are mission driven and surrounded by terrific colleagues that provide a safety net enabling us to do our job much, much better.”
Kawabe Memorial House is also a member of the Affordable Housing Management Association of Washington (AHMA Northwest). AHMA NW is a 501(c)(6) non-profit association representing owners, managers and service providers in the affordable housing industry. Kawabe Memorial House’s Executive Director, Connie Devaney, is an AHMA NW board member, and has been appointed to represent them on the Governor’s Afforable Housing Advisory Board.
Our seniors must cope with the usual issues of aging but are also faced with an array of challenges specific to language and cultural differences.
We provide housing as well as variety of supportive services that allow our residents to bridge these divides and to safely age in place.