Mary's Place Creates a Home for the Homeless in Downtown Bellevue
According to the Bellevue School District, nearly 300 students and families identify as homeless. Mary's Place wanted to help.
The Mary's Place team found an opportunity to use a former hotel as a temporary shelter in Downtown Bellevue, an ideal location to help the homeless community on the Eastside. The emergency shelter opened last December and is already home to several guests as volunteers setup the 90-plus rooms with new beds.
Linda Mitchell, Chief Communications Officer at Mary’s Place said they had to adapt to the ever-changing world.
“We were finally able to shelter up to 200 additional moms, dads, and kids, bringing families in out of the freezing temperatures on Christmas Day,” Mitchell said.
The Seattle-based nonprofit opened in 1999 as a drop-in Women’s Day Center which still exists today in Downtown Seattle. As the homeless crisis continued to grow, Mary's Place evolved to meet the needs. In early 2020, they had eight shelters and 800 beds available for families each night. As the pandemic made its way into the U.S., the organization had to close four shelters.
Bellevue's location is now their fifth emergency shelter in King County.
As Mitchell described, Mary's Place is "standing in the gap" from the moment a family worries about losing their home to getting assistance or a new home.
“We are always providing resources, services and hope, helping families stay in their homes by providing a safe, warm place and resources for families in our five 24/7 shelters located across King County,” she said.
Temporary shelters are not a new experience for Mary’s Place. After the recession in 2008, they began seeing families with nowhere to go at night. Mary’s Place offered overnight shelter in empty buildings to give families a temporary place to stay. Since then, they’ve used 26 different buildings in partnership with Amazon, Vulcan Inc., King County and now SRM Development in Bellevue.
“When a family loses their home, they shouldn’t lose their community," Mitchell said. "We’re meeting families where they are, bringing them inside to warmth and safety, providing housing and wellness resources, children’s programming and a community they can trust.”
The economic impact of the pandemic has been devastating for many families because of a job loss, reduced hours, quarantining at home, and remote learning. While many are struggling, Mary’s Place is there to support as much as they can. Last year, nearly 550 Mary’s Place families moved back into housing. The community played a major role in making it all happen.
“We’re so grateful to everyone who donated masks and PPE, putting together supply kits to share with guests in quarantine and volunteering on-site to help guests achieve their housing goals,” Mitchell said.
As Mary's Place starts up their new downtown location, they have an immediate need for gently used coats, clothes, bedding, towels, diapers, wipes, kids books, toys and toiletries. A donation drive is taking place from January 24 - 29 where anyone can drop off any new or gently used items at the new location in Downtown Bellevue at 10621 NE 12th Street. Staff is available at the front entrance to receive the donations and provide a gift receipt. Cash donations are also accepted at the location or online.
- Jan. 29: 9 to 12 p.m.
- Jan. 24 - 28: 3 to 6 p.m.
If you or a family you know is struggling with losing a home, please call the King County Emergency Family Shelter Intake Line at 206-245-1026.
This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.
SIGN UP FOR THE HEART OF BELLEVUE NEWSLETTER
Mary's Place Family Shelter
10621 NE 12th St
Bellevue, WA 98004