Creating Community from the Inside Out

By Janet Pope, Executive Director, Compass Housing Alliance

Reflections as Ronald Commons Opens its Doors

Janet visits Ronald Commons
Compass Housing Alliance Executive Director Janet Pope

It was a poignant moment. I stood in a freshly painted, new apartment, as light streamed through the windows. Soon, someone without stable housing would be calling this place home.

It took me back 14 months ago, when this building was nothing more than just a barren construction site. But it was anchored in the Shoreline community, which had a commitment to give back. It was particularly meaningful because this used to be my neighborhood.

Well before any ground was broken, a solid foundation was in place. It was a foundation that drew from the neighborhood itself and forged from a dynamic and strategic partnership among organizations with deep roots in the community.

Building Community through Partnerships

Beyond the collaboration among Compass Housing Alliance, the Ronald United Methodist Church and Hopeline, we also had generous partners and support across public and private sectors. Together we joined hands to tackle the dual challenge we face in our region – a shortage of affordable housing and an escalating homelessness crisis—and to help people who are in crisis.

All told, Ronald Commons is offering 60 affordable apartments to homeless and low-income individuals and families, including formerly homeless veterans and families with a developmentally disabled member. True to our commitment to “create community from the inside out,” residents and the broader community have access to critical support services, including a “grocery-style” food bank, family services, financial education and assistance.

As we open the doors to Ronald Commons, we offer more housing, we offer residents stability and a pathway out of poverty. In the days and weeks ahead, we will all witness how their lives will be transformed. Residents will be moving in and become neighbors. Kids will play together with their friends and pets outdoors on the playground. They will shop with their parents at the food bank next door. Laundry facilities are just downstairs. As new neighbors connect in the community room over coffee, staff will strategize how to help them move forward.

What is most important to me, to us all, is that each and every one will have a safe permanent place to call home.