Mary’s Place was established in 1999 in Seattle, WA in response to homeless women’s need for a complete resource center. These women were previously spending their days bouncing from center to center, trying to get their physical needs met. With the help of a small community grant, and the support of a Board of Directors from a local church, Mary’s Place was born. Several planning sessions with homeless women were held where women were asked what they needed to rise out of homelessness. In this way, they instituted the structure of the organization that remains today.
Mary’s Place is one of the few places that offer crisis response night shelters and day center services for homeless families with children. It is unique in that it empowers women to take control of their lives by first providing for basic needs, and then by giving them access to tools, information, support groups and resources to find employment, housing, medical and/or financial services that improve their quality of life in the long-run.
Last year I had the opportunity to volunteer with Julia’s Place, a partner of Mary’s, and the only homeless shelter in King County that that accepts entire families. I was able to witness the immense need that Mary’s Place fills in the community. During the three months I volunteered at Julia’s, three families were able to transition from the homeless shelter to more permanent housing, which Julia’s helped them obtain.
This organization is run mostly by volunteers, and relies on regular community fundraisers, like Bingo Nights and Charity dinners for funding. About 27% of their funding comes from individual donors. They have been recognized through several community awards, such as being named 2013 Non-Profit of the Year by the Greater Seattle Business Association. They were also given the Outstanding Organization Award by the Seattle Human Services Coalition’s 2014 Human Services Awards.
They are constantly working towards helping more people, and have recently opened a new temporary emergency family night shelter in Seattle’s International District to bring more families off the streets. They now have an urgent need for supplies such as bed sheets, breakfast foods, school supplies and toiletries. I propose a $1000 fundraiser to help this cause, so that Julia’s Place can continue to expand their services to more needy families. The organization is small enough that it would be easy to work closely together to help make this happen, and where any amount of money that we would raise would make a tangible positive impact in the lives of many.