Programs designed to house US military veterans with a focus on addressing issues specific to Veterans. Our programs include men and women in 35 beds at three locations. A new Compass Veterans Center in Renton will open in the fall 2010 with 58 units for veterans and their families.
Permanent Low-income Housing
Rental units mainly for low-income families, with a focus on building strong communities. One building in Pioneer Square houses mostly formerly homeless individuals. The other five locations house mostly families and seniors.
Family Support Program
Case management and a number of housing options including emergency shelter, transitional housing, and permanent “transition-in-place” apartment units for any family with minor(s) in the household.
Increasing the supply of affordable housing in the Puget Sound region by building and acquiring rental housing for families and individuals with limited incomes and by providing technical assistance to congregations and others interested in developing affordable housing.
|Church of Mary Magdalene and Mary’s Place
Well, I think the 1st time I came to Mary’s Place, I had just been raped. I came in terrified and distraught. Women were having loud conversations over the table, making coffee and cooking eggs. It felt like home. I immediately relaxed. I had come from the hospital with 19 stitches from my hip to my inner thigh; the feeling of all the women was whole and cleansing. That’s why I came back. I have fallen in love with the women here…. Andrea
Church of Mary Magdalene and Mary’s Place provides a welcoming and safe environment where women and children can find help and support to move out of homelessness and rebuild their lives.
Mary’s Place weekday program was developed in consultation with homeless women, taking into account their needs and their skills. Mary’s Place operates Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Although the staff directs Mary’s Place, the homeless women themselves do much of the program leadership, including upkeep of the facilities, cooking meals, and serving each other. Since 2000, our staff has included formerly homeless women who have been participants of Mary’s Place. Their leadership provides inspiration and hope for life beyond homelessness.
For over 18 years, our Saturday worship – Church of Mary Magdalene - has encouraged women to find the love of God in their lives and to form a spiritual community. Every week we provide two hot meals, served by volunteers from area congregations. A time of soulful singing and fellowship follows, and our pastor preaches at a nontraditional worship service designed to empower women and support them on their journey.
Our constituency is homeless and formerly homeless women from the greater King County area. They range in age from 20 to 75 (some with children) and represent diverse backgrounds in race (about 2/3 women of color), class, sexual orientation, education, and life experience (including domestic violence, mental illness, disabilities, and addictions).
Together, Mary’s Place and the Church of Mary Magdalene encourage women to meet their physical needs and build their personal and spiritual strength. Each woman who finds housing is ultimately responsible for her accomplishment, but often a community of support, education, and advocacy has helped her along the way. The Church of Mary Magdalene and Mary’s Place seek to be that community.
To that end Mary’s Place brings in many community agencies and representatives to talk about services, share expertise, and do outreach to the women here. Some examples include:
The Mary’s Place emphasizes planning for long-term well-being and success. This may mean a woman needs encouragement and support to get drug treatment or counseling, help finding advocates in the community such as case managers, or referral to a transitional housing program. While obtaining permanent housing is the ultimate goal, a woman cannot usually escape homelessness simply by getting an apartment. She must have support systems in place and acknowledgement of her own self-worth in order to maintain her new living arrangements.
It often takes six months to over a year to obtain housing; it can take even longer for each woman to get control over the various difficulties that brought her into homelessness. Many women continue to participate in Mary’s Place after finding housing. They benefit from shared meals, staff and peer support, and constructive programs. This community helps to stabilize them and reduces the likelihood of returning to life on the street with its constant threat of violence.
Even after successfully transitioning out of homelessness, women often keep in touch by returning to visit, donate items, or volunteer.
During any given year, over 600 community members volunteer at Mary’s Place. Public and private schools bring students to spend the day with the women, medical/nursing students and service learning students participate and lead groups during the week, and church women and community
groups cook and serve meals before and after our Saturday service. Professionals such as lawyers and counselors provide pro-bono expertise for special needs.
Our advocacy in the community for more shelter and safety for women has an impact beyond our constituency. A great deal of citizen education comes through our relationships with supporting organizations. Our Mary’s Place speakers’ bureau sends the pastor, staff, choir, board, and Mary’s Place participants to many churches and community groups every year, breaking through stereotypes and increasing understanding about homelessness.