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Mary's Place

(Courtesy of Mary's Place)

Perspective | As eviction moratorium ends, families will need even more help 

Mary’s Place needs volunteers, and there are ways to help remotely.

Mary’s Place: It’s been a challenging year. Students have had to transition to remote learning and have struggled to get work done and stay focused. Parents who still have jobs are trying to juggle work and ensure that their children’s education needs are met. 

We’re told to stay home and stay safe — but what if you don’t have a home? 

One-third of our families in shelter at Mary’s Place have at least one family member who is in a high-risk category for the virus. The trauma of homelessness is compounded by the fear of the virus, especially for those parents who go to essential, high-risk jobs each day and worry about bringing the virus home to their children. Recently, we began a partnership with Safeway and Albertsons to provide COVID-19 vaccinations for our eligible staff and families. It’s such a relief for our guests in shelter to know that soon they won’t have to worry about getting sick.

Due to COVID-19, our services and programming have changed to keep our guests, staff, and community safe. In Kids Club, we’re supporting children and families to connect with more than 25 different school districts. Our food services program is working with local restaurants and corporations to provide more meals – over 424,000 last year alone. Workshops, classes, and assistance with housing and employment applications have moved online.

While in-person volunteering is still on pause, there are lots of opportunities to help women and families at Mary’s Place. 

Preparing kits is a fun way for a family or group to provide much-needed supplies, including kids’ snack packs, multicultural hair care kits, cold care or isolation kits, new mom bags and welcome-home baskets. 

Another fantastic way to help is by making face coverings, virtually tutoring kids or arranging to have restaurant meals sent to a shelter.

With the eviction moratorium coming to an end, we know that more families than ever before will face homelessness, and we need the community’s support now more than ever to help them find or keep their hard-won homes. 

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel — so much hope and excitement! But this pandemic isn’t over yet. We’re so grateful for our incredible community that comes beside our families time and time again when they need it most.

Mary’s Place provides a safe place for families experiencing homelessness to come inside together and find the resources they need to move quickly back into housing. Across five emergency family shelters in King County and a drop-in women’s day center in downtown Seattle, we provide 500 beds for moms, dads, and their children with nowhere to go each night. 

Some other ways families can help

Financial contributions provide flexible funding to address the barriers and costs for a family moving into housing and cover the unexpected costs of the extra measures we’re taking to keep our guests and staff safe. You can visit our website to learn about the different ways you can give, like becoming a member of our monthly giving program, the Homes Team.

If you have clothing or other items you’d like to donate, we have two donation drop-off locations. Our website has information about items we can accept and detailed directions for drop-off. And our Amazon Charity list has items we need that you can order and ship directly.

You can visit the Mary’s Place website to learn about the shelters and ways you can give time or money. For more information on how to help, email volunteer@marysplaceseattle.org.

Linda Mitchell is chief communications officer at Mary’s Place.

This story was originally published on April 19, 2021.

Editor’s note: Publication of an opinion piece does not mean Seattle’s Child or its staff endorses the views of the author.

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