Compass is proud to share that Don’s Place is open! 

Since Compass was named as the operator of Health Though Housing’s new Auburn site this summer, we’ve been working hard to get this emergency housing program ready! We are so excited that we get to help connect more people to life-changing housing and services – this is what we love to do!  

We will welcome 11 people to their new home and will open up the rest of Don’s Place early 2023. We can’t think of a better holiday gift for those who will get to call this place their home. What a fantastic way to end the year. As our program staff does the hard work to get Don’s Place up and running, we’ll be sharing stories and ways to get involved


  • This hotel will support and welcome home up to 90 people experiencing chronic homelessness. 
  • Veterans and seniors will receive preference in the referral process. Adult couples or self-identified domestic partners will be welcomed in a portion of the units. 
  • 60% of the building’s referrals will be provided to individuals living in or near Auburn or who have ties to the community and 35% will be provided to individuals coming through King County’s Coordinated Entry system. 


  • 24/7 staffing and controlled access 
  • Case management support tailored to individual needs  
  • Connection to physical and behavioral health services on site  
  • Programing targeted at growth and enrichment, educational attainment, job readiness, etc. 
  • Access to food support, three meals per day 

The Man Behind the Name

Don’s Place is named in honor of Donald Gene Castro, better known as “Old Man Don” by the local Auburn community. He was a Vietnam Veteran who experienced homelessness in his later years after he couldn’t drive anymore as a trucker. He had a big laugh and a lot of character. Though he was experiencing the traumatic effects of homelessness himself, he was known for helping everyone on the street in whatever way he could. He saved socks and clothing, making deliveries to those in need. A community member shared, “there wasn’t anyone on the street who didn’t know him and love him.” 

Don lived from 1942 to 2020 and received a full military burial at Tahoma National Cemetery in April 2021. Don deserved to live in a place just like this, his sweet spirit and caring heart will always be remembered.  

Health Through Housing  

In mid-2021, King County purchased the former Clarion Inn hotel in Auburn, the fifth property through the Health Through Housing Initiative, for a total of $11.8 million. This housing is a form of critical healthcare for our medically vulnerable and chronically homeless neighbors. In mid-2022 King County selected Compass Housing Alliance to provide onsite services. 

The goal of this program is to create permanent housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness. In the long term, all Health Through Housing properties, including the Auburn hotel will operate as permanent supportive housing. With the goal of moving people in as soon as possible, the program will start as emergency housing. The housing combined with 24/7 staffing and onsite supports will help very vulnerable people in South King County regain health and stability.  

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