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Puget Sound Nonprofits Combine to Create New Affordable Housing Brand

May 27, 2022

BELLEVUE, WA—Three Puget Sound nonprofits have come together to create CIRC, a new brand that provides affordable housing and services to seniors and families.

Sustainable Housing for Ageless Generations (SHAG), the Community Life Foundation (CLF) and Downtown Action to Save Housing (DASH) have joined forces to create CIRC. All three organizations are longtime leaders in affordable housing and resident services in Puget Sound.

Each component brings different expertise to the new brand, making CIRC uniquely positioned to provide both housing and services to a wide range of residents. “CIRC has the best of both worlds right now,” explained Karen Lucas, executive director of CIRC. “We’ve got the energy and excitement of a startup, combined with the experience that SHAG, CLF and DASH bring to the table.”

Going forward, CIRC will continue to develop, own and operate affordable housing communities and provide resident services and programs to communities owned by external partners—much like CLF did. Over time, all existing communities will be re-branded as CIRC communities.

CIRC (as CLF) pioneered the “Neighborhood Network” approach, which creates a comprehensive resident support network within one to two miles of each community. Providing access to essential services, resources and programs, the Network can be tailored to the specific needs of communities and residents.

“While the word ‘CIRC’ doesn’t have a specific meaning, it suggests our Neighborhood Network and the circle of resources and connections that are created inside and outside each community,” said Lucas. “After SHAG, CLF, DASH and all the others we’ve had to deal with over the years, we’re excited to be moving away from acronyms.”

Although the CIRC name is new, the philosophy and mission behind the brand is unaltered. “While our name is changing, our services and programs will remain the same,” said Lucas. “We’ll continue to work closely with our ownership partners and provide life-changing support for more than 6,000 residents in 39 communities throughout Puget Sound.”

CIRC will serve as the affordable housing arm of Transforming Age. Headquartered in Bellevue, Transforming Age is a leading nonprofit organization committed to improving the lives of older adults by integrating housing, community services, technology, philanthropy and partnerships.

“CIRC is vital to the Transforming Age mission,” said Torsten Hirche, president and CEO of Transforming Age. “Together, we’re building a customer-focused network by integrating housing and services to holistically address the needs of older adults across the economic spectrum.”

CIRC will play an important role in Transforming Age’s push to expand further into middle-market senior housing and develop solutions to serve the vast number of seniors needing sustainable and affordable housing solutions.

“There are a lot of aging baby boomers that don’t qualify for subsidized housing and can’t afford private-pay senior living options,” explained Hirche. “We think there’s an opportunity to leverage our combined resources and take models that we’ve developed and deploy them into the areas of greatest need. We’re confident we can deliver innovation to a market and industry that needs some new ideas.”

The creation of the CIRC brand reinforces the vision established by the highly-praised affiliation between Transforming Age and SHAG, and paves the way for Transforming Age to become one of the nation’s leading affordable housing providers.

“We’re taking the successful integrated housing and services approach pioneered by SHAG and expanding it,” said Hirche. “We’ll be able to provide affordable housing, management services and resident support to other affordable housing providers as well as to our own communities. We’re taking the best practices of all our affiliates and bringing them together.”

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