Nick’s Story

To my friends in Seattle who drink coffee, and let’s be honest it’s pretty much all of us I just want you to please take a second and give the article a read and maybe watch the video and get a little closer look at some of our neighbors.

These people aren’t always the bad, the lazy, or the uneducated sometimes it’s real genuine people who have come up against tragedy in life. It can range from a building being sold to a property developer, a owner raising rent because the new tech employee can afford the new price and you can’t but all that matters to the landlord is money in the pocket, or as it was 3 years ago for my family a medical tragedy.

Some of you may not realize this but a little over 3 years ago I had spinal fusion surgery after waking up paralysed in the middle of the night. During this time my family became homeless because my wife had to take medical leave to take care of our two boys, once that was over she sadly had no job to go back to and we ended up loosing our apartment. They lived out of our car, low cost hotels, and friends couches while I was in rehab learning to walk again. Sadly we all know the hospitality of friends can’t last forever, eventually with the promise of a job we moved to Seattle to find even worse housing obstacles then Albuquerque had. Once here the cycle started again and I ended up back in the hospital but thanks to the love and compassion of Mary’s Place when I came out of the hospital this go round we had a stable place to live together as a family.

Mary’s Place has been a blessing to our family in so many ways, they gave us a place to live and to heal when we needed it the most and during that time we met new friends and learned about ourselves and the human spirit. Thanks to them we were able to spend time together as a family in a safe environment while taking advantage of all the resources they offer to find permanent stable housing.

Mary’s Place is a place of stability for my family even today as my beautiful wife Charlotte Wheelock has taken the opportunity she earned through hard work and dedication and run with it as she is now Mary’s Place Housing and Wellness coordinator. She now gets to give what was once given to us…. HOPE.

So please if you can once December rolls around give the loose change (or more!) at your local King County Starbucks to Mary’s Place. After that maybe give your time and volunteer as they can always use tutors or some one to play with the children so parents can have a precious 5 minutes to themselves.

Thank you for a moment of your time and Happy Holidays,

Nick

2016 Steve Hauschka Celebrity Ping Pong Tournament

Come join Mary’s Place and the Seattle Seahawks for the Second Annual Steve Hauschka Celebrity Ping Pong Tournament, a fundraiser for Mary’s Place and the No Child Sleeps Outside campaign.

Have you ever wondered if you had the skills to take on the Seattle Seahawks best ping pong player in an elite single game elimination tournament? 12 lucky VIP Ping Pong players will have their chance to battle Seahawks’ Kicker Steve Hauschka for Ping-Pong supremacy alongside celebrity guests December 5 from 6-9 PM in the CenturyLink Field West Club Lounge. 710 ESPN will broadcast the Gee Scott Show live from the tournament!

OR attend and if you’re feeling up to it challenge a celebrity to an exhibition match for $100 or play doubles with a friend for $150.

Get your ticket soon as we expect to sell out! This event is All-Ages but a ticket is required for entry for anyone over age 2.

–General Admission: $25
–Mary’s Place Champion: $75 (Includes 2 drink tickets & 2 Raffle Tickets) – only 50 of these tickets available!
— VIP Access: $500 (Mingle in the VIP area – no tournament play) – only 10 of these tickets available!
–12 VIP Tournament Players: $1,200

Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to prove your Ping Pong skills against Seattle’s celebrity best!

All proceeds will go to Mary’s Place as we work to make sure No Child Sleeps Outside in Seattle!

Over 500 families sleep outside in Seattle every night, mostly single mothers with children, sleeping in places that are cold, wet, and unsafe.

Please join our incredible supporters the Seattle Seahawks, Dick’s Drive In Restaurant, Amazon, Vulcan Inc., Nordstrom, Starbucks, Lennar Multifamily Communities, Bank of America, Zoots, HomeStreet Bank, and others to help Mary’s Place raise over $500,000 to open additional crisis-response winter night shelter and bring even more families inside at night.

With your help, we can make our goal of moving ALL families out of encampments, doorways and cars and into warmth, safety and stability a reality.

No Child Sleeps Outside Campaign Kicks-Off! www.nochildsleepsoutside.org

Last November, a state of emergency was called in Seattle and King County to address the crisis of homelessness in our community. A year later, the need is greater than ever.

Tonight, 500 families, mostly single mothers and children, are sleeping outside in cars, tents, and doorways. The weather has turned cold, wet, and dark. These families have no safe place to sleep this winter. We need your help to bring them inside!

On November 16 we kicked-off our 3rd Annual No Child Sleeps Outside crowdfunding campaign with a goal of raising $500,000 to quickly opedsc_1454-edit-editn an additional crisis response shelter for one year to bring families experiencing homelessness inside to safety at night. But we know that it will take much more to bring in all families currently sleeping outside. For every $500,000 that is raised, we will expand shelter and services to address this crisis.

We have partnered with some of Seattle’s leading companies and business organizations, Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Bank of America, Biscuit Bitch, Brooks Running, Comcast, Dick’s Drive-In, Downtown Seattle Association, HomeStreet Bank, Lennar Multifamily Communities, Lunchbox Laboratory, Microsoft, Neighborhood Grills, Nationwide Insurance, PEMCO, Regence, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Seattle Restaurant Alliance, Starbucks, Vertical Bridge, Vulcan Inc., Weyerhaeuser, Women’s Council of Realtors, and Zoots, to launch our third online crowdfunding campaign with over $200,000 in initial donations.

 

The 2016 campaign goal of $500,000 will allow us to quickly open an additional crisis response shelter for one year to bring families experiencing homelessness inside to safety at night. But we know that it will take much more to bring in all families currently sleeping outside.

  • For every $10,000 we raise, 25 families can get the down payments they need to move in to transitional or permanent housing
  • $250,000 and we can fund our ongoing work to provide emergency shelter and services to the 400+ women, children, and families that come to our door every day
  • $500,000 will pay for a crisis-response night shelter for one year to bring families experiencing homelessness inside to safety, and provide 36,000 additional bed nights for families in need next year (100 beds)
  • For $1,500,000 we can open another 24/7 family center to offer comprehensive housing and employment services

The No Child Sleeps Outside campaign runs through December 31st. Anyone can help ensure that No Child Sleeps Outside this winter just by going to www.NoChildSleepsOutside.org from any mobile device or computer to make a donation.

There are lots of fun events planned for the campaign; we hope you will join us at one! More info coming soon!!

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Do you have room for a Giving Tree?

Holidays are a busy time! Amidst the bustle of wrapping gifts, making travel plans, and planning the perfect holiday meal, there are two things you can do to help homeless women, children and families experience the joy of the season, too.

You can help give homeless moms, dads, grandparents and children the joy of giving and receiving by shopping for their families at the Mary’s Place Santa Store! We need to stock the shelves with new toys for the children and grandchildren of homeless women and gifts for children to give to their parents.

Can you place a Giving Tree in your office, apartment building or place of worship? We’ll provide you hand-made shoe, toy, and gift tags to hang on your tree.

Toy tags have the name of a toy that a child at Mary’s Place has asked to receive from Santa. Gifts will be given to homeless parents and grandparents so they, in turn, can give them to their children and share in the joy of giving this holiday season.

Gift tags are for items that will be placed in our Santa Store where children will shop for presents for their parents. Elves will help them shop and wrap at our Holly Jolly party!

Shoe tags request a $20 donation so a gift certificate for shoes can be bought by us on your behalf.

At the Holly Jolly Party we will give every guest (all 3,000!) a gift card for a new pair of shoes. Shoe tags request a donation of $20 that lets us purchase discounted gift cards to buy shoes for men, women, and children.

If you are interested in hosting a Giving Tree, contact Emily at efricke@marysplaceseattle.org and we’ll get Giving Tags to you. Thanks to wonderful friends like you, the women, parents and children of Mary’s Place will know the joy of the holidays!

Last week’s news about homelessness

Last week (Sept 7) the City of Seattle released summaries of two reports from homelessness consultants that make recommendations for how the city and county address this crisis in our community. Some of the key findings and recommendations, include:

  • focus on programs that give people short-term help to return to permanent housing faster, rather than transitional housing
  • provide 24×7 facilities like the San Francisco Navigation Center model that lowers barriers to shelter and offers services that are tailored to the needs of homeless individuals and families
  • institute a more efficient process for assessing the needs of people without homes and determining what help they should receive

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced the “Pathways Home” plan that addresses many of the report recommendations and includes a goal to move 500 unsheltered families indoors by the end of 2017. We are excited and hopeful for these changes, and grateful for the resources and focus that our community is committing to solving this crisis.

As the largest provider in the region, Mary’s Place has a proven track record of success. We have been working with families experiencing homelessness since 1999. We opened our first emergency night shelter in 2010 to bring families inside, together, to warmth and safety at night.

051016_023-bvhToday, with your help, Mary’s Place operates six crisis response family shelters that provide refuge and community for 400 family members experiencing homelessness. Last week, we got 133 school-age children enrolled and off to school! We do this in loaned buildings awaiting development, for $14 dollars per person/per night. Our intent is to make a stay at Mary’s Place as short as possible. Within 48 hours of arriving at a Mary’s Place shelter, our advocates are working with families to address barriers and develop housing and financial stability plans.

We doubled our capacity in 2016 and still our shelters are full nearly every night, except when we have been constrained by bureaucratic intake policies. We were pleased to be able to work with the county to change that process and ensure that no bed remains empty when there are children sleeping outside.

We know that wraparound services are key to moving families forward. Our Family Center in north Seattle is a 24×7 shelter for 100 family members that provides beds, meals, showers, and laundry, as well as individualized counseling and services from Mary’s Place Housing & Wellness Advocates and access to more than 40 co-located service providers.

We support the goal of reducing barriers to shelter. Our shelters accommodate all types of family configurations, including juliassingle moms, single dads, extended families, and now families with pets – allowing families to stay together during this challenging time in their lives. But we also take the safety of our families and children very seriously. Providing a safe haven for children, domestic violence survivors, and vulnerable families is our priority.

As a partner with the city and county on the goal of ending family homelessness, we have made it a mission that NO CHILD SLEEPS OUTSIDE and continue to work and build until that is achieved, but it will require all of us working together. We are proud to partner with leading companies and organizations in our community to provide a roof, basics, and safety to vulnerable parents with kids each night.

You are what makes this possible! We could not continue to expand, to open more shelters, and to bring in more families without your faith and support. Watch for exciting news from Mary’s Place in the next few months about our plans, and how you can help!

If you have any questions, I hope that you will contact me or Mary’s Place Executive Director, Marty Hartman. I welcome your ideas and feedback.

Respectfully,

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JJ McKay, Board Chair
Mary’s Place

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Do you have job openings? Mary’s Place needs your help!

We are looking to get our guests and Empower U interns hired into great, permanent jobs, which for many is the first step to stable housing! Do you know any organizations, friends, or employers who can help? We have several people eager for their chance to succeed, like Mary’s Place intern, Habtam, who just got a job at the Westin Hotel!

You can help people like Michael – Michael (name has been changed) moved with his mom and siblings to Seattle looking for a new opportunity but when that opportunity was slow coming, they came to Mary’s Place. They were assigned a Housing & Wellness Advocate who encouraged Michael to look for a job. It would be his first job and after applying at several places, Michael became frustrated, worried and lacked confidence. Luckily, the Mary’s Place Empower U Internship Program was there to help him.

The Empower U Internship Program provides three month internships for Mary’s Place guests – at the front desk, in the kitchen, doing janitorial work, sorting donations, etc., that provide a small stipend and job experience. These internships help our guests gain job skills to excel in the job market. Not only do the internships lead to a referral from Mary’s Place, but organizations know they are getting a great, reliable employee.

Michael spent time with the Empower U Internship Program staff practicing applying for jobs, interviewing, and discussing how past life and volunteer experiences could translate to job skills. The staff took Michael to a local business interested in working with Mary’s Place to find great employees. There, they met with the owner, Brad, and filled out a job application together. Brad and Michael seemed to “click” right away and a week later Michael started his first job! Every time the staff at Mary’s Place sees him, he is so excited and his mom is always saying how proud she is of him.

Do you want to make a difference and help individuals like Michael? Our employment partners are critical to the success of our intern graduates and guests. Can your organization become one of our employment partners?

Partners like Superior Gardening Service that just hired one of our Mary’s Place dads! Amazon, who hosted a hiring fair and brought volunteer employees to help complete applications; and The Home Depot, which is also planning a hiring fair for our guests and interns. And our relationship with the Seattle Hotel Association has lead to many hotel hiring partners.  Some of the types of jobs we are looking for are:

  • Entry-level administrative jobs
  • Janitorial jobs with limited English requirements
  • Cashier jobs
  • “Second chance” jobs for guests with criminal convictions
  • Opportunities at smaller locations that may give a more hands-on experience to help our guests succeed

If you have a job you need filled, or ideas for how we might partner to place some of our amazing families at your company, please contact Laura at lpentz@marysplaceseattle.org and let’s talk!

 

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The first step on the journey out of homelessness

Today we join media outlets, community groups, advocacy organizations, elected officials, and service providers in Seattle to shine a light on homelessness, examining causes and possible solutions at #seahomeless.

Homelessness continues to grow in our region as people struggle to make ends meet and deal with personal and family needs. One of the biggest changes that we have seen at Mary’s Place over the last several years is the increase in the number of families with children experiencing homelessness.

Mary’s Place began as a day center for homeless single women, to provide them safety, community, and resources. But it became too heartbreaking to turn way mothers with children at the end of the day, knowing they had nowhere to go. Today, we operate two day centers and six crisis response night shelters for homeless families.

Mary’s Place is standing in the gap providing shelter, resources, and hope from the time a family first becomes homeless, until they move into stable housing. They bring families inside at night to keep them safe, warm and together – including extended family members, grandma and grandpa, and family pets. They provide hot meals, laundry facilities, showers, and community.

Our goal is to make it easy to access shelter immediately, and to minimize the time a family spends there before moving on to permanent housing. Mary’s Place staff is constantly innovating and incorporating best practices to make our system more efficient and effective. Every family at one of our shelters is assigned a Housing & Wellness Advocate who works with them to help navigate the system, locate resources, and overcome obstacles. The work to address barriers to employment and housing begins immediately – getting copies of birth certificates and social security cards, helping with resumes and job applications, resolving eviction debts, understanding and working to clear criminal history, addressing mental health issues, teaching financial skills, providing access to health care, securing childcare, and furthering education. With this help and support, families are ready to move successfully into housing as soon as it becomes available.

The Mary’s Place Family Center provides 24×7 shelter, co-located with local service providers to provide comprehensive services and access to resources. Over 20 different organizations come on-site to provide their services in an effort to increase accessibility and minimize travel time and inconvenience for homeless families.

We can’t do this alone, we need the community to come alongside and help to help solve the problem of family homelessness. We are grateful to the many local businesses and congregations who provide teams of volunteers, funding, and vacant buildings for temporary shelters; real estate professionals who contact landlords and help with housing applications; foundations who fund internship programs, medical services, and children’s programs; and individuals who bring meals, share belongings, help with resumes, and read books to children.

The Mary’s Place model is cost effective, efficient, and caring. Last year we provided 60,000 overnight stays at a cost of $14 per bed night. But it’s not enough; families are still sleeping outside in cars, tents, or trailers waiting for a referral to shelter. We must increase easily accessible shelter and ensure that no child sleeps outside in our community tonight.

Crisis response shelter is a critical piece of a comprehensive solution to ending homelessness. At Mary’s Place, we are empowering families experiencing homelessness to rebuild their lives by providing safety, resources, and hope. The time that families spend in shelter at Mary’s Place, on average about 90 days, serves as a launching point, preparing them to move forward successfully to permanent housing. It’s a winning model that we hope to replicate in partnership with cities across the county.

 

 

Community & Cocktails

Is “work hard, play hard” your personal mantra?
Are you looking for a fun, after work activity and some time to socialize?
Do you want to bank some Karma and meet new friends?

Announcing Mary’s Place Young Professionals Community & Cocktails!

When?  Every Thursday night

What?  Volunteering at the Mary’s Place Guest Rooms shelter at 8th & Blanchard from 5-6:30 p.m. We’ll help kids with homework, play with toddlers, and help the staff with dinner. Then, at 6:30 p.m. we’ll walk to a local bar for no-host cocktails with Mary’s Place staff and other volunteers.

How?  Track us on twitter, facebook, and instagram at #mpyp. Email Erin@marysplaceseattle.org if you can make it, and feel free to bring friends, coworkers, family!

Original Voices

Julie Gardner has been leading a weekly writing workshop at Mary’s Place for over five years. Workshop participants range in age from young adult to senior and include women who are currently homeless and some who have found their forever homes but come back for class, and to share their stories of trauma, abuse, addiction, job loss… but also of empowerment, courage, and appreciation. The workshops and writings help the women work through issues, strengthen self-esteem, and find renewed hope.

From the workshops, Julie has compiled and edited 126 writings, along with photos and images, in a recently published book, Original Voices: Homeless and Formerly Homeless Women’s Writings. The book includes a foreword by Pat Schneider, author and founder of Amherst Writers & Artists. The book, a labor of love, is unique and inspiring. Contributing writer, Kristine Bagby, read a poem by Jennifer Hamilton, below, at our Spring Luncheon in early May. The book is currently available at Amazon for $14.00, proceeds from the book go to support Mary’s Place shelters and programming. You can follow this story at the Original Voices facebook page!

For So Long I Did Not Have a Voice Jennifer Hamilton

For so long I did not have a voice
Trampled and broken I was silenced
Like so many of us.
It may seem like a small thing but,
You heard.
I feel so grateful
From my depths I thank you.