The nonprofit resource for people trying to find their way out of homelessness has announced a $2 million fundraising campaign to fund a new family shelter
Every night, staff at Mary’s Place have to tell 15 to 20 homeless families who have called seeking emergency shelter that there’s no space for them at any agency across King Country.
Those families join an estimated 2,600 families who are homeless in King County on any given night. The kids may need to brush their teeth in a public restroom before school. Their parents may have to go to work in dirty clothes.
But next year, Mary’s Place — a nonprofit agency that coordinates services for families experiencing homelessness — hopes to have another shelter to offer, thanks in part to an annual $2 million fundraising campaign the nonprofit launched Thursday with a long list of Seattle corporate donors.
Money raised through the annual “No Child Sleeps Outside” campaign will go toward renovating an empty building in South Lake Union into a shelter that will serve about 300 families each year. Mary’s Place hopes to open the shelter by early 2019.
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The shelter will focus on families who need temporary housing for up to 30 days and have identified another housing source once they leave. The shelter will also have an employee on site to help shelter residents reach their goal to have permanent housing, with assistance like connecting them to landlords or getting a government ID. Mary’s Place currently operates eight shelters and resource centers in Seattle, White Center, Burien, Shoreline and Kenmore.
Right now, the building on Aurora Avenue, which used to be the headquarters for Fulcrum Technologies, has graffitied walls and dirty floors. Renovations will cost about $200,000, Mary’s Place Executive Director Marty Hartman said as she walked through an old conference room.
“Does it look like home?” she asked. “Not yet, but it will.”
The campaign’s impact has grown in the five years since it first launched. In 2013, it raised $10,000. Last year, donors gave $2.2 million. Contributors include Amazon, Costco and the Starbucks Foundation, which contributed $250,000 this year to the campaign.
“The human impact is real,” said John Kelly, Starbucks’ senior vice president of global affairs and social impact. “We are all so proud to call Seattle and King County our hometown, but for these beautiful children, it’s their hometown, too. And they need to come inside.”