Compass on Dexter — our new home for families — is now open

October 6th, 2014

We’re both proud and humbled by the outpouring of support for Compass on Dexter, our new home for families in South Lake Union. Hundreds of you joined us to help us open this new space, which will provide 72 units of affordable housing for people in need — including many families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Thank you for your support!

Safeco Insurance Fund awards $25,000 grant to Compass Housing Alliance

June 27th, 2014

Compass Housing Alliance has been awarded a $25,000 grant from Safeco Insurance Fund as part of the group’s 2014-15 Basic Services Initiative. The funds will go directly to support our programs providing emergency services, shelter, transitional and permanent affordable housing for homeless and low-income people in Seattle and King County. Our thanks to the Safeco Insurance Fund for their support!

Christopher Wiggins, program manager, Safeco Insurance Philanthropy; Cindy Jackson, Fund Development Director; Dana Visser, Compass Housing Alliance board member and Liberty Mutual

Christopher Wiggins, program manager, Safeco Insurance Philanthropy; Cindy Jackson, Fund Development Director; Dana Visser, Compass Housing Alliance board member and Liberty Mutual

Rental Housing Association donates $5,400 to Shoreline Veterans Center

April 21st, 2014


When military veterans need help, they can turn to Compass Housing Alliance. And thanks to a generous gift from the Rental Housing Association of Washington (RHAWA), Compass Housing Alliance is even better positioned to support veterans in need. RHAWA Executive Director Bill Hinkle delivered a $5,400 check to the Shoreline Veterans Center and Program Manager Tom Thompson on Wednesday, April 16, the proceeds of RHAWA’s Giving Gala fundraiser. The funds will be applied to Compass programs that benefit veterans, including the Shoreline Veterans Center, a transitional housing program for male and female veterans.

“Our nation’s veterans deserve the best support and care that we can offer,” Thompson said. “We’re lucky to have a partner in the Rental Housing Association that understands the value of caring for veterans who are in need.”

Compass Housing Alliance’s veterans programs are specially designed to help meet the unique needs of military service members and their families. The Shoreline Veterans Program offers transitional housing for up to two years for 25 homeless veterans. Space in the transitional program is reserved for 21 men and four women, who find a stable, supportive environment where they can improve their mental and physical health, access education and employment resources, and locate permanent housing. Whether a resident needs some extra support or just someone to talk to, case managers are on-site to provide counseling and referrals to resources.

Other Compass programs for veterans include permanent housing for veterans and their families and transitional housing and shelter beds for veterans who are experiencing homelessness.

This story also appeared in the Shoreline Area News.

Compass Housing receives $200,000 grant from Bank of America for “impact in providing affordable housing and essential services”

January 27th, 2014


We’re excited to announce that the Bank of America Charitable Foundation has selected us for its Neighborhood Builders program. The award includes leadership training for select staff and $200,000 in unrestricted grant funding, which will be applied to our capital development programs.

“We know that as the region’s economy strengthens, new construction and rising rents in emerging Seattle neighborhoods have created real obstacles for many low-income families,” said M.J. Kiser, program director at Compass Housing. “At the same time, King County is experiencing a critical shortage of affordable housing and shelter beds for individuals and families in need. By expanding the existing housing stock, we create a welcoming place for people in our community who are experiencing homelessness.”

Upcoming projects include the opening of a new Day Center with 50 shelter beds on Rainier Avenue; the Compass on Dexter project in South Lake Union, with affordable housing and support services for families and individuals; and Ronald Commons in Shoreline, which will offer affordable housing for low-income individuals, families and veterans.

As the results of the 2014 One Night Count show, the need for expanded affordable housing and shelter capacity in King County is tremendous. This award enables Compass Housing to continue to expand its reach to individuals and families in need, allowing us to serve more people in 2014 and beyond than ever before.

Construction partner Walsh named #1 sustainable construction firm by Seattle Business Magazine

January 14th, 2014

Walsh Construction, the contractor for Compass Housing Alliance projects Nyer Urness House in Ballard and the upcoming Compass on Dexter, has received the 2013 Green Washington Award for the building and construction sector.  The recognition by Seattle Business Magazine honors Walsh for “innovations in technology, policies and processes that make our economy more environmentally sustainable.”

Compass Housing Alliance is proud to partner with a company committed to green construction practices, which is reflected in the sustainable design features found at Nyer Urness House and planned for Compass on Dexter. At Nyer Urness House, those include energy efficient heating, hot water and appliances, a green roof, and a development in a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood close to services, shopping and public transportation. Compass on Dexter is being built to meet the Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard, which combines a green development plan and integrative design with high standards for water conservation, energy efficiency and a healthy living environment for residents.

For more information about Walsh Construction, visit

Compass Housing Alliance Staff Honors MJ Kiser

November 4th, 2013

MJ Kiser, program director for Compass Housing Alliance, was honored for her leadership at the annual all staff meeting on October 31, 2013. Staff surprised Kiser with flowers and an oversized card filled with messages of appreciation.   Under her year long tenure as interim executive director, the organization opened Nyer Urness House, secured a new home for the Adult Day Center and Roy Street Shelter, broke ground on Compass on Dexter and moved forward with significant infrastructure improvements to support organizational growth.

Cindy Jackson and Leslie Shapiro present Kiser with a gift of appreciation.

Cindy Jackson and Leslie Shapiro present Kiser with a gift of appreciation.

Hygiene Lead Shelia Cleaver signs Kiser's card

Hygiene Lead Shelia Cleaver signs Kiser’s card.

Kiser began working for Compass more than 20 years ago, starting as a case manager in the women’s program.  Since that time, Kiser advanced to the role of program director.  Her vision, knowledge and passion has been pivotal in spurring the organizations success as a responsive and compassionate provider of services and solutions to people experiencing homelessness and poverty.

New Executive Director Announced

October 15th, 2013

Janet PopeThe Board of Directors of Compass Housing Alliance has selected Janet Pope as executive director, effective October 21, 2013. She assumes the role of Rick Friedhoff, who retired in October 2012 after serving 16 years as Compass Housing Alliance executive director.

Pope was chosen to lead Compass Housing Alliance following a comprehensive local and national search that produced several qualified candidates. The Board was impressed with her passion for the organizational mission, her faith-based background, fund development experience, as well as proactive and visionary leadership skills. Her experience in nonprofit management, facility oversight, and executive leadership of homeless service organizations makes her uniquely qualified to lead Compass Housing Alliance in providing impactful services and housing options for people struggling with homelessness and poverty in the Seattle area.

Since 2000, Pope has devoted most of her career to making a positive difference in homeless issues across the Greater Seattle area.  Prior to a stint as Executive Director of Seattle Musical Theatre, she served as the Director of HomeStep, a services enriched transitional housing program that served over 400 homeless families and individuals during her tenure.  HomeStep operated under the umbrella of The Church Council of Greater Seattle and merged with Compass Housing Alliance in 2011.  Before leading HomeStep, Pope was Executive Director of the Interfaith Association of Northwest Washington where she successfully leveraged faith community resources to address critical needs in homeless prevention, emergency shelter, permanent supportive housing and other vital services covering a multi-county area.

“Compass Housing Alliance is fortunate to attract an individual of Janet’s caliber,” said Peter Struck, Board of Directors president.  “Her knowledge and experience, coupled with her dedication and passion for the mission of our organization, provides a solid foundation to lead Compass Housing Alliance forward.”


MJ Kiser, who has served as interim executive director for the past year, will resume her role as Program Director.

Compass on Dexter Update – July 2013

July 9th, 2013

Compass on Dexter -Neighborhood Update 2013 Q3

GiveBIG 2013 a Huge Success!

May 16th, 2013

Thank you all!  We are overwhelmed by the generosity shown to Compass Housing Alliance and the greater Seattle area during GiveBIG day.

Our numbers indicate that supporters donated over $43,300 to Compass on May 15th!  Total GiveBIG numbers for all non-profits involved have topped $11 million!

We can’t thank you enough for being so generous; for spreading the word; and for helping to support the men, women and children who use Compass services.

More information can be found in The Seattle Foundation’s press release about GiveBIG.


Former Executive Director, Rick Friedhoff, Presented with Award

April 18th, 2013

 The article below is from the Seattle University Alumni Community Website.  Direct link here.

2013 Community Service Winner

Community Service Award Winner-Rick Friedhoff, ’67

At Seattle University, students are tasked with finding their vocation, something that they feel called to do. This is not always what students expect it will be. Our Community Service Award winner this year, Rick Friedhoff, had just such an experience.

Friedhoff graduated with a BS in commercial science from Albers in 1967. He returned to Seattle University 17 years ago to complete his MAPS degree, but after a year of STM courses he felt drawn to a different path. He left the MAPS program and his successful law practice to become Executive Director at the Compass Housing Alliance.

Since 1920, Compass Housing Alliance as provided much needed food, shelter and support for the homeless community of Seattle. When Friedhoff joined Compass it was still housed in the same tired old building from the 1920s. He saw the good being done, and he also saw the needs that still needed to be met. He became inspired to help Compass reach its full potential and meet the needs of vulnerable who relied on its services.

With his legal skills, Friedhoff increased the number of facilities serving the homeless all under the Compass Housing Alliance umbrella. According to the organization, “Under Friedhoff’s leadership, the 100 year old building at 77 South Washington became the foundation on which Compass ushered in a new era of growth and a fresh approach to battling homelessness in King County. Thanks to his vision, Compass Housing Alliance now serves a broad spectrum of individuals and families struggling with homelessness and poverty, offering a range of services from meeting basic, immediate needs to attaining permanent stability.”

Now, after 16 years as the executive director, Friedhoff is retiring. He has led Compass through earthquakes, mergers, rebuilding and economic uncertainty and his dedication to the cause never wavered. He embodies the commitment of the Jesuit focus of providing for those less fortunate, and it is for that reason we are happy to honor him this year.