Shared Housing Services, a nonprofit organization dedicated to affordable housing, celebrated a long-awaited unveiling of the colorful mural that now decorates the side of its Hilltop office on Monday, July 15. The mural was painted by local artist Kate Cendejas and made possible by the City of Tacoma’s Neighborhood Innovative Grant Program.

“When we first got together on the project, I told (Cendejas) that I envisioned this mural to show the diversity and sense of community that the Hilltop exhibits,” said Mark Merrill, executive director of Shared Housing Services. “I also want it to be a sort of welcoming banner for all the people and cars as they enter the Hilltop District. This is something that we can all be proud of, not only today but for years to come.”

Mayor Victoria Woodards attended the event and spoke to her continued support of Shared Housing Services and their effort to connect low-income families and people experiencing homelessness to affordable housing opportunities. Woodards has advocated for tenant rights and wants to keep Tacoma an affordable place to live, especially in light of the city’s recent designation at the hottest housing market in the country.

“The thing that makes Tacoma so great is the people who live here — and it’s everyone who lives here,” Woodards said. “So, when you get that kind of designation, organizations like this and the work that Shared Housing is doing becomes even more important to this community. Know that you have a council and a mayor that is committed to making sure that Tacoma stays affordable for anyone and everyone who wants to live here.”

Look for the colorful mural celebrating Hilltop’s diversity and Shared Housing Services’ ongoing commitment to preventing homelessness on the corner of South 11th Street and South I Street in Tacoma.

From left to right: Michel Rocchi, president of Shared Housing Services; Victoria Woodards, mayor; Kate Cendejas, artist; and Mark Merrill, executive director of Shared Housing Services.