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More than 12,112 people are experiencing homelessness across our region, according to a one-night count this January. More than 2,500 of them are in families with children.

Mary’s Place is working to bring that number down. It’s one of our city’s best known shelters — giving beds to 680 family members every night.

“Family homelessness is solvable!” Executive Director Marty Hartman wrote us. “There could be enough resources and beds so that no child would have to sleep outside by 2020. We just need everyone to find their role to help our neighbors and contribute their skills, talents and abilities — one child, one family at a time.”

We caught up with Marty to learn a bit more about the mission of Mary’s Place mission and what she loves most about Seattle…

Conversations around homelessness in our city get heated quickly. What about them frustrates you most?

I think there’s a lot of time spent placing blame instead of taking action. We have best practices, we have great models established to ensure that no child has to sleep outside in our community, we just need to build on those to ensure every family has access to housing.

What are a couple victories Mary’s Place has seen recently that you’d like to celebrate?

  • Increasing shelter capacity from 2,300 bednights six years ago to over 175,000 last year

  • Piloting a new, successful program where we are working with families that aren’t lucky enough to get a bed in a shelter to move them from their cars and cardboard homes directly into permanent housing. In one year, we moved 239 families directly into housing with this flexible funding.

Where are the two places you’d take an out-of-town guest?

What’s the best advice you ever got from someone about living in Seattle?

Drop everything inside and go outside when it’s sunny!

What are five Seattle people or orgs everyone should know about?

  • Amazon’s John Schoettler: “He cares so much about our families, and is having such an impact on the community.” Amazon announced plans last year to give Mary’s Place six stories in a new office tower, which is expected to open in 2020.

  • Starbucks’ John Kelly: “[He’s] leading a team of dynamic and compassionate champions that are changing the way we treat our sheltered and unsheltered neighbors.”

  • Mark & Lisa Caputo, local philanthropists: “Visionaries who donated over $1 million and made a $4 million loan to help us buy our first permanent location in Burien that will open in August to provide shelter for 200 moms, dads, and kids.”

  • Birthday Dreams: “An amazing organization that makes sure that all kids, regardless of circumstances, have a happy birthday with treats and presents. We love it when they visit Mary’s Place!”

  • HNN Associates: A “professional property management company working with Mary’s Place to give our families a second chance and a forever home.”

Learn more about Mary’s Place here. Know someone else we should introduce folks to in The Evergrey? Hit reply or email us at hello@theevergrey.com to let us know.

Mary's Place