As the Puget Sound region struggles to overcome its homelessness challenge, private-sector support is critical, as highlighted by Paul Allen’s remarkable $30 million contribution.
THE Puget Sound region’s homeless crisis cannot be solved by public agencies alone.
Private-sector support is critical, including remarkably generous donations such as the $30 million that Paul Allen is donating to build a housing complex for low-income and homeless families.
The donation announced last week by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation will fund the design and construction of a permanent facility that will be operated by Mercy Housing Northwest, the local branch of a Colorado-based nonprofit housing developer.
Operating costs will come from public and private sources, and the city of Seattle has pledged $5 million. The location has not been announced.
Allen has donated to this cause before, including $1 million he gave last year to Compass Housing Alliance, showing his concern for those struggling to get by in his hometown.
Others stepping forward recently include Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz, who backed a fundraising drive in partnership with regional companies that raised millions for Mary’s Place family shelters, and travel guru Rick Steves, who donated a Lynnwood apartment complex for struggling families to the YWCA.
These targeted gifts expand programs with clear and proven results, highlighting the region’s compassion and its potential to overcome the intractable challenge of homelessness.
Simultaneously, Allen’s upping his game, and not just with a strong draft by the Seahawks team that he owns.
In March, Allen gave $40 million and Microsoft provided a matching $10 million to endow the newly formed Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington.
This elevated the UW’s computer-science program from an engineering department to a stand-alone school. It recognizes its stature and historic role nurturing the programming hobby of Allen and Bill Gates, who sneaked in to use its equipment when they were teens.
Perhaps one of the children sheltered in the Allen-funded housing complex will someday find an open door and an unattended lab at the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science and discover how much opportunity lies ahead for them.