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The Renovated Cambridge Apartments Offer Gus Lee a Fresh Lease on Life

Gus stands outside his apartment building in front of a leafy bush. He has on a Seahawks sweatshirt and a baseball cap.
Gus Lee, resident at The Cambridge

Augustin “Gus” Lee, moved to Seattle in 1980, the same year Bellwether Housing was founded. At age 17, Gus enlisted in the military. While serving overseas, he developed a drug addiction. Once in Seattle, Gus struggled to stay housed. He stayed in shelters; he

slept outside. For a while, he lived in a tent village. Gus moved with the village nine times, at one point to University Christian Church’s parking lot in the U-District, the same

site that was later sold to Bellwether and developed into The Arbora Court Apartments.

In 2017, Gus graduated from a recovery program. “I was through,” he said. “[Drugs] took my life away from me. Now I’m getting it back.”

At the same time, Bellwether was restoring the historic Cambridge Apartments with The RAFN Co. and SMR Architects. Bellwether improved the 157-unit building’s seismic safety, energy efficiency, and accessibility. After completing his recovery program, Gus discovered he was eligible for VA benefits and a housing voucher. Gus had four months to find an apartment and use the voucher. Bellwether completed the Cambridge renovation in late 2018. Natural light now floods the refreshed lobby and new resident lounge. Every apartment received new carpet, cabinets and appliances.

“It was a touching moment when the manager handed me the keys,” he said. “I am really, really thankful and blessed.” -Gus Lee, Cambridge Resident

In December 2018, Gus was ready for The Cambridge, and The Cambridge was ready for Gus. Bellwether quickly processed Gus’s application and waived past debt criteria. With two years of sobriety under his belt, Gus signed his lease. “It was a touching moment when the manager handed me the keys,” he said. “I am really, really thankful and blessed.”

The lobby in the Cambridge has restored marble floors, wooden benches, and a large bank of mailboxes.
The renovated Cambridge lobby.

Today, Gus’s focus is maintaining his sobriety – he says it’s easier with time and a stable home. Today, he’s helping others recover, saving money, and dancing to disco music. ‘When people see me dancing, they ask, “How old is this guy?” Some people tell me, “He’s still got it after all these years.”’ When asked about his apartment at The Cambridge, Gus replies, “I love it. I really do.”


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