Mary’s Place has helped hundreds of women, children, and families, who have moved out of homelessness into more stable situations. Families that hit a bump in the road – a job loss, a rent increase, a medical diagnosis – and lost their homes. The housing crisis in Seattle and King County is taking its toll on the many families that are living on the edge.
Mary’s Place now operates eight emergency overnight family shelters across King County that provide 680 beds each night for families with children. Their goal is to ensure that No Child Sleeps Outside in our community, but each night in King County there are more than 2,000 families that are sleeping outside in cars and tents.
The Mary’s Place Day Center and four Family Centers provide basic needs each day, including meals, showers, laundry, diapers, and clean dry clothes along with access to resources for housing, employment, and medical care. Children are connected to schools, and Kids Club provides age appropriate programming and after school homework help.
Mary’s Place has grown dramatically from a Day Center for single homeless women that opened in 1999. The organization has evolved to address the needs of the families they see who are experiencing homelessness. When they saw increasing numbers of mothers with children with nowhere to go at night, they opened their first emergency overnight shelter in 2010 to bring them inside. Soon they were opening additional buildings to provide overnight shelter for moms and dads with children, single dads, extended families, and families with pets. In 2015, Mary’s Place heard about families with critically ill children sleeping outside hospitals. The Popsicle Place program was born and now provides a private room and medical support for families who have lost everything trying to make their children well. Baby’s Best Start provides care and education for the increasing numbers of pregnant woman and new moms.
Once safe inside the Mary’s Place shelter community, families work with housing specialists to find affordable housing. Often these families have the funds to pay rent, but just need a second chance. Mary’s Place housing locators work with landlords to build relationships and place families, and housing stabilizers work with families to connect them with resources and ensure their success in housing.
Mary’s Place uses a model of transforming empty buildings into a “home for now” for unsheltered families. Their current shelter spaces include former hotels, restaurants, store fronts, bank buildings, and government buildings on loan from companies like Amazon, PEMCO, Vulcan, as well as the City of Seattle and King County. They are constantly on the lookout for available space to expand.
You can help! Do you know of an empty building that Mary’s Place could put to use? A landlord that would be willing to work with Mary’s Place families? Are you an employer willing to offer a job? Financial contributions help, as do in-kind donations of good and services from the Mary’s Place website at marypslaceseattle.org – or organize your friends, family, or work team in for a day of service. You can help families search for housing, complete applications, prepare for job interviews and create resumes. You can make a difference.