There’s a new affordable housing facility going up in downtown Ballard less than a mile from my house. The Nyer Urness House, built by Compass Housing Alliance, will provide eighty apartments for formerly chronically homeless men and women. I received a letter the other day asking if I would help welcome my new neighbors by sponsoring an apartment for $1,000, which will be used to purchase needed supplies for one apartment and also help furnish the common rooms.
I know about this housing facility because my mother’s social worker at her current home, a shelter downtown, put her on the list to receive an apartment. My mother has lived in shelters for almost twenty years, usually in a large room with a designated bed and locker where she can keep her things as long as she shows up every night at 6PM when they open the door, and leaves early in the morning when the close the shelter for the day. Because my mother is homeless, most days she walks around downtown. If she has bus tickets she may ride around for a while, or hang out at the women’s day shelter. When she was receiving benefits before they were cut and eventually ran out (she refused to sign the papers that would continue them because of delusions about her social worker), she used to take the ferry to Bainbridge Island and peek in the shop windows. These days she complains of her knees and the cold, and I do what I can to help ease her discomfort, but her illness often prohibits her from taking the offered help.
In a few months all of this may end for my mom. She’ll still be schizophrenic, but she’ll have a roof over head, a caring community, and her family close by. I can only hope and pray she will take a gigantic leap and try something so, so new by moving away from the familiar night shelter environment. I don’t know that this will happen, but I do know that someone’s mother or father or sister or brother will be moving off the streets in a matter of months. And I want to be part of making their new homes welcoming and inviting. If everyone who was unable to give $1000 gave a small amount, we could, as a community, help bring real compassion into the lives of those who are taking a new and perhaps scary first step into a place they can call their own. A place where they can sleep in, store their things without a padlock, watch the program they want to watch, or read a book without listening to someone else’s fight. Where they can be home.
Join me, by donating here. (And would you let me know that you did? I’d love to try to pool the amount so we can put up a plaque outside one of the apartments to acknowledge the gifts…perhaps from Ballard Moms and Dads?) You can also donate household items through a Target registry, also available through the link.
Thank you. So much.