about Mary’s Place



What is Mary’s Place?

Mary’s Place is a nonprofit organization that provides safe, inclusive shelter and services for women, children and families on their journey out of homelessness. Mary's Place opened in 1999 as a drop-in day center for single women experiencing homelessness in downtown Seattle. They opened their first emergency family night shelter in 2011 and currently operate eight overnight shelters providing more than 550 beds. Four of those shelters operate as 24/7 Family Centers that provide housing, employment, and wellness services each day.

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. 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 skill building.

Each family is immediately assigned a housing specialist to help them develop and implement a plan for moving quickly to stable housing. Mary's Place Housing Locators work with hundreds of landlords in the region to develop relationships and help place our families, Housing Stabilizers work with newly placed families to connect them to community resources and ensure their long-term success, and Mary's Place Diversion Specialists work with unsheltered families in tents and cars to address barriers and move families directly to housing.

Who does Mary’s Place currently serve?

Women and families with their children (men and women) from the greater King County area who are experiencing homelessness. The guests that we serve range from young adults to seniors and represent diverse backgrounds in race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, education, and life experience. Approximately 30-40% of our guests are immigrants or refugees, the majority of those from East Africa. Many struggle with disabilities and some with mental health issues. Our Popsicle Place program provides shelter and care for families who have lost everything dealing with critically-ill children.

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. Our housing services include outreach to landlords, goal setting and support for families, working with unsheltered families from cars and tents, and helping families who are back in housing to connect to the community and be successful. We prioritize families with young children, pregnant women and new moms, and families with critically-ill children.

How do people become homeless?

Each person's story is unique, of course. Common issues include domestic violence, an illness or accident with no medical insurance, loss of a job, drug or alcohol addiction, mental illness, loss of a job. There is a direct correlation between rising rents and rising homelessness. 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 Women in Black, Saturday church service, and the Homeless Women's Choir continue to exist as programs at Mary's Place.

What do families experiencing homelessness 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 strengthen coping and financial skills. Their children are connected up to schools, or visit Kids Club and find toys to play with, age appropriate programming, and help with homework. At Mary's Place, women and families find safety from the streets, tools and resources, 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 families experiencing homelessness at eight locations. These shelters provide a safe place for families to sleep at night while they search for permanent housing. Still, there isn’t enough room and many families are still outside in our community.

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.

How do families experiencing homelessness reach Mary's Place about shelter?

Families who need a place to stay tonight should call the 24 hour Community Emergency Family Shelter Intake Line at 206-245-1026 for information and assistance.