Common Questions

What is Mary’s Place?

Mary’s Place is a nonprofit organization that empowers homeless women, children & families to reclaim their lives. Mary’s Place opened in 1999 as a drop-in day center for single homeless women that is located in downtown Seattle. In response to the increasing numbers of families experiencing homelessness, Mary’s Place opened its first emergency family night shelter in 2011 and currently operates seven family shelters providing more than 680 beds. Four of those shelters operate as Family Centers that provide housing, employment, and wellness services each day for families experiencing homelessness.

What services does Mary’s Place provide?

Mary’s Place addresses the basic needs of some of our community’s most vulnerable residents-families experiencing homelessness. Mary’s Place helps families to find stable housing and empowers and equips them with the tools to be successful. We begin by meeting people where they are, providing for basic needs including safety, day and night shelter, nutritious meals, showers, laundry, and clean clothing. We provide resources and referrals to social services, medical care, legal and financial aid, housing, and employment. Health and wellness are promoted through direct access to nursing and naturopathic care, and daily groups offer support, encouragement, and practice on boundaries and communication skills. Each homeless family is immediately assigned a specialist to help them develop and implement a plan for moving quickly to stable housing.

Who does Mary’s Place currently serve?

Homeless women and men with their children from the greater King County area. The women and families we serve range from young adults to seniors and represent diverse backgrounds in race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, education, and life experience. Many struggle with disabilities and mental health issues. Approximately 30-40% of our guests are immigrants or refugees, the majority of those from East Africa.

How is Mary’s Place different from other homeless shelters?

Mary’s Place is one of the few organizations that offer crisis response night shelter and day center services for homeless families with children. Mary’s Place empowers families to take control of their lives by meeting basic needs such as hygiene, shelter, food, and clothing; and providing access to tools, information, support groups and resources to find employment, housing, medical, and financial services.

How do people become homeless?

Each person’s story is unique, of course. Experiencing a life crisis without financial or family support can land almost anyone out on the street. Common issues include domestic violence, a major illness or accident with no medical insurance, extended unemployment, drug or alcohol addiction, and mental illness. Families seeking housing face many barriers: high rents, long waiting lists for subsidized housing, credit problems, previous evictions, mountains of paperwork, and the challenge of communicating without an address or phone number.

Who is Mary?

Mary’s Place began as a program of the Church of Mary Magdalene and received its 501c3 status in early 2012. In January 2014, with three years of experience running both non-profit organizations behind us, the Board of Directors of the Church of Mary Magdalene and Mary’s Place came to the conclusion that we were stronger as one. The services offered by the Church of Mary Magdalene, including hospital and jail outreach, Women in Black, Saturday church service, and the Homeless Women’s Choir continue to exist as programs at Mary’s Place.

What do homeless families do at Mary’s Place?

Families find resources for social and health services, benefits, housing and employment within a community of support. They can take a shower, do their laundry, and get a hot meal. Through groups and classes, they learn to accept personal responsibility and strengthen coping skills. Their children visit our Kids Club and find toys to play with, age appropriate programming and help with homework, and a warm place for a nap. At Mary’s Place, women and families find safety from the streets, tools to help them find resources, activities to help them take their minds off their troubles, and community.

Where do families go when they can’t get into a shelter at night?

Many stay with friends or sleep in their cars. Through the generous donations of our supporters, Mary’s Place provides night shelter to homeless families at seven locations: Julia’s Place at the Madrona Presbyterian Church; the Rotating Family Shelter operated by churches and community organizations, the Emergency Family Shelter operated in Belltown,  Family Center in North Seattle, Family Center in White Center, Family Center in Northshore, and The Regrade shelter in the Denny Triangle neighborhood as well as a few small single family homes. These locations provide a safe place for families to sleep at night while they search for permanent housing.
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How is Mary’s Place funded?

Mary’s Place receives funding from five sources: individual donors, foundations and grants, corporations, congregations, and city and county government grants.