The National Lutheran Choir performs at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle this Friday, September 29th at 7:30pm. The concert is free and open to the public. Donations collected at the concert benefit Compass Housing Alliance and Imagine Housing. Local writer and travel guru Rick Steves will match the offerings from the event up to $20,000!
Singers from local choirs and the audience will also join in the celebration of hymns and choral music.
The sixty-four voice National Lutheran Choir, directed by Dr. David Cherwien and based in Minneapolis, is touring the Pacific Northwest to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
Five of Compass Housing Alliance’s program locations look a little fresher this week after Friday’s Day of Caring. Eight teams joined us to help paint and spruce up our affordable housing, transitional housing, and shelter programs.
Thanks to volunteers, participating companies, and The United Way for your help!
Teams from Zillow and Microsoft painted Peter’s Place. Peter’s Place offers both nighttime shelter and daytime drop-in services, providing meals, case management, and access to a nurse and mental health services.
United Way Loaned Executives tackled a painting project at our Pioneer Square Men’s Program. This program provides transitional housing for 70+ men. Located at our headquarters, Pioneer Square Men’s Program operates alongside our Client Services Office & Hygiene Center.
A Microsoft team gave the Children’s Center at our Renton Veteran’s Program a facelift. Renton Veteran’s provides transitional housing and permanent affordable housing for veterans and their families. The Children’s Center offers reading groups, art classes, and more to engage young residents.
Teams from Edifecs and General Dynamics- OTS spruced up our Northlake Grove property. Northlake Grove is a cooperative permanent housing program providing housing for 24-low income singles and families.
Interested in learning more?
If you have questions about Compass’ work or additional volunteer opportunities, please reach out to Community Resources Coordinator Jennifer Marquette here or at 206.474.1071. We are always looking for new project ideas and volunteers!
Eight months of hard work and planning culminated yesterday in the grand opening of Compass at First Presbyterian. The new enhanced shelter in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood provides overnight shelter, meals and case management services. With the paint barely dry, members of the First Hill community gathered to celebrate and acknowledge what is possible when our community, non-profits and local governments come together to apply their collective will to solve a pressing problem.
More than just a bed for the night, Compass at First Presbyterian offers a significant departure from the traditional shelter model. By combining safe shelter, complete wrap-around services—including meals, laundry and shower facilities—and intensive case management, Compass offers a pathway to permanent housing for 100 men and women.
Compass Housing Alliance and partners carefully designed and developed the space to support people along with their partners, possessions and pets. For many people who sleep outside, traditional shelters are not an option. Often, people do not want to be separated from their loved ones or the personal items they have managed to retain.
At Compass at First Presbyterian, men occupy the main area and have dedicated bathrooms, changing areas and laundry facilities. Sleeping quarters for women are in a separate room connected to their own bathroom and laundry room. Each guest has a large bin for their possessions which will be kept safely in the storage room.
Compass at First Presbyterian is the outcome of a partnership between Compass Housing Alliance, First Presbyterian Church and the City of the Seattle.
Speaking at the opening ceremony today, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said that the city had realized that traditional shelter approaches were not working. “We knew we had to develop an integrated approach to homelessness that was based on outcomes and not only services delivered.” Murray said the most important outcome is permanent housing.
He added that the city had decided to invest $1.3 million in Compass at First Presbyterian because it offers a new approach to shelter housing: a place to stay and access services with the opportunity to find permanent housing. Murray said that 24/7 shelters are the next step to housing stability.
Partnering for Greater Impact
Seattle First Presbyterian Church provided the space to make this shelter possible. “We are so thankful to partner with Compass Housing Alliance and in helping people, our lives will also be changed,” said Reverend Heidi Husted Armstrong.
Recalling a meeting with the Compass Housing Alliance team eight months ago, Pastor Heidi said: “We stood in this space and had a conversation. Something happened and within an hour, we were almost like kids at Christmas looking at each other and wondering if something like this could really happen.”
Executive Director Janet Pope of Compass Housing Alliance emphasized that this project has been a true partnership. It also represents a system-wide opportunity to do things better. “The 24/7 enhanced shelter model offers individuals the opportunity to stay in one place, which is the stability they need while searching for a permanent solution, rather than returning to the streets each day and hoping for a bed somewhere that night.”
“Compass Housing Alliance has nearly 100 years of experience serving a vulnerable population and have advocated for this system-changing, 24/7 model within the four shelters that we operate. We are pleased to continue our partnership with the city in implementing this evidenced best practice in our community,” Pope explained.
In the coming days, the first guests will start moving in. What today was an empty space will be filled with the sounds of people reclaiming their paths to stability within a caring community.
By Pastor Julie Hutson, Luther Memorial Lutheran Church
There’s a folk song, made somewhat famous by John Denver, that describes the process of planting and growing a garden.
Inch by inch, row by row, going to make this garden grow. All it takes is a rake and a hoe and a piece of fertile ground.
The residents of Ronald Commons had a dream and a desire to plant and tend just such a garden. A set of raised beds made this fertile ground possible. Soon after Ronald Commons opened, residents began planning what this plot of community might look like. Resident Joel Cochran put his education and experience to work in creating a master plan for the garden. Donations from the community, including three area Lutheran (ELCA) churches: Edmonds Lutheran Church, Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, and Maple Leaf Lutheran Church, helped with the purchase of plants and garden tools.
Eager to dig deeper than a financial donation, the confirmation classes from the three congregations offered up “people power” as the Ronald Commons residents planned for their day of garden planting. Eight middle school students and three pastors listened attentively to instruction on the finer points of garden planting. Soon hands were busy (and dirty!) getting the vegetables, fruits, and flowers into the ground.
Pulling weeds and picking stones, we are made of dreams and bones; feel the need to grow my own ‘cause the time is close at hand.
Along the way, the confirmation students enjoyed a tour of the common areas of the housing as well as the chance to meet and enjoy the playground with some of the children who call Ronald Commons home. Staff and residents joined in as the sun seemed to bless the activity itself and the community as it formed.
Reflecting on Challenges and Faith in Action
Follow up conversation centered around the need for affordable housing in our area and the challenges facing both those who need housing and those who have the capacity to provide it. We discussed Compass Housing Alliance’s future affordable housing project on the site of Luther Memorial, made possible in part by the generosity of the congregation. We also noted that Edmonds Lutheran is considering a similar partnership and that Maple Leaf has hosted Tent City. The students were so excited to see faith in action!
As the day ended, everyone gathered around the freshly planted gardens to bless the garden and all of the hands who had made it possible. The students and pastors look forward to a return trip to Ronald Commons to see the fruits of their labors!
Plant your rows straight and long, temper them with prayer and song. Mother Earth will make you strong if you give her love and care.
Compass Housing Alliance came together with our partners Hopelink and Ronald United Methodist Church, community leaders and members to celebrate the February 17th grand opening of Ronald Commons in Shoreline.
Residents, including veterans, families with pets, and persons with disabilities, are now settling in to the 60 units of permanent and supportive affordable housing. Hopelink’s onsite Integrated Service Center is set to serve residents and the surrounding community with a grocery store style food bank, financial education, family services and more.
Together with our partners, we are working to meet the needs these families and community members have today as well as supporting their future growth and success.