Eli, Jackie, Marc, Russell, and Rebecca are residents at Compass programs. We will be going into more detail about them as the “Our Story” campaign continues, but we thought it would be a good idea to introduce you to the folks you might have seen around town.
Russ gives an update on his life
Russ is a Veteran who was experiencing homelessness in the Seattle area for a long time before he found his home with Compass at the Renton Veterans Center. He wanted to take part in Compass’s Everyone Deserves a Home campaign because he wants more people to know about the work that Compass does and the lives that change because of that work.
He first told us his story not too long ago and you can read it in his own words here, but he has a major update to his life – he has adopted a dog!
“I love living here at RVC with these other military families and Veterans,” he said. “I feel loved and not lonely especially now that I’ve got a dog. His name is Bubba.”
Russ toured a few shelters in King County, but he wasn’t finding a connection. Once he went to the Seattle Humane in Bellevue, he felt completely different.
“They let Bubba in the cage, and he came rushing up to me and put his paws on me,” he said. “He looked really cool, and I knew it right away. He has been with me ever since.”
Russ felt it was important to adopt a dog that needed a second chance.
“He was found on the streets in Yakima,” he said. “I know what he went through because I went through the same thing. Compass gave me a second chance and I wanted to do that for someone else.”
About Seattle Humane
Founded in 1897, Seattle Humane proudly promotes the human-animal bond by saving and serving pets in need. We are more than a shelter – Seattle Humane is a community resource center, providing adoption services, a pet food bank and support for pet owners, low-cost spay/neuter surgeries and wellness exams, humane education for all ages and more.
Rebecca deserves a houseplant
Rebecca struggled with homelessness for a long time before she found Compass. She has been a resident of our Nyer Urness House since it first opened. She is a grandmother and loves the community that she has helped build.
“I do love all the residents here,” she said. “We do good things together and a lot of us are close.”
She enjoys our newly renovated activity room and is often found there playing some of the games or just sharing some food or company.
Marc never gave up
Marc is a big man with tattoos. He talks fast and smiles even more. He has intense eyes that have seen things, but there is a light in those eyes – he has never lost hope. His story is a study of setbacks, stumbles, and systemic failure.
He was in the foster care system from a very young age. He bounced around the juvenile criminal justice system and eventually graduated to adult jail. He would get out, have no place to go, and be back on the streets with the same people in the same community.
It was a trap.
“It is fundamental that I have housing,” he said. “When you are out there on the street you have to follow the rules, the code. It’s the only way to stay ‘safe.’ Now that I have been removed from the rules of the street, the laws really, with Compass and this housing, I’ve been able to break free.”
Marc had a solid foundation with his housing and it allowed him to refocus on himself and his goals. One of the ways he focused was taking up boxing.
“When I first went to the boxing club, I didn’t have any money,” Marc said. “I had my necklace and put that down as payment and Manny, the owner, said ‘Nah, we got you. Let’s get started.’ He accepted me for who I was and I haven’t missed a class since I’ve started.”
Having a goal and a focus helped him realize he wanted to reconnect with his family and his faith. He has cut out all distractions in his life keeping it simple and dedicating himself to his ambition.
“Here, at Compass, I have a place where people actually care about me, I have stability,” he said. “I’m rebuilding myself. I’m going to keep my mindset positive and being here at Compass is letting all this happen. Now, I’ve surrounded myself with wise council, and having a place of my own made this all possible.”
Compass Housing Alliance wouldn’t be able to be a place of refuge without the financial support of people just like you.
Eli and Jackie
For 10 years, Eli and Jackie have raised a family at our Renton Veterans Center. Their affordable home with supportive services also helped save Jackie’s life. When the couple moved out west from Chicago and were getting settled in their new community, Jackie’s kidneys began to fail. This launched the family into a health scare that left them vulnerable when their housing fell through.
Compass and RVC showed up at just the right time and helped transform what could have been a tragedy for the family into healing, stability, and growth. There’s so much more to the incredible story of Eli, Jackie, and their family, which we’ll share at our Homeward Gala on April 1st. Stay tuned!