Serving the poor in unlikely places: Our latest housing project

One thing that makes our health system a little different than others is that Providence is more than a collection of hospitals and clinics. We operate a variety of ministries in our communities, including affordable housing for those most in need.

Thousands of seniors, immigrant families, people with disabilities and others with very low incomes have found a safe place to live thanks to Providence Supportive Housing. These are people who, in some cases, make as little as $10,000 per year.

I’m often asked why a health system like ours is involved in housing since it’s outside the core competency of typical health care providers. For us, the answer is simple. A safe, stable home is critical to good health.

Think about it. How can someone lead a healthy lifestyle or improve their health if they don’t have warm place to sleep, a kitchen to prepare nutritious meals, a bathroom to maintain hygiene or a safe place to store medications?

Even more important, the people we serve through this ministry are central to our Mission. At Providence, we have a special obligation to bring compassion, love and hope to the most forgotten and vulnerable members of our society. What more powerful way to do that than by offering a home to someone who desperately needs one.

Our newest senior living facility: Providence John Gabriel House

If you look hard enough, you’ll find the poor and vulnerable everywhere including the most unlikely places. Last week, I had the honor of participating in a groundbreaking for our newest housing project for seniors, Providence John Gabriel House. It’s located in, of all places Redmond, Wash., home of Microsoft. You’d think a community like Redmond has everything it needs. But even there, you’ll find senior citizens who are one step away from homelessness.

I was struck by a comment from one of our elected officials.  “One in every three senior home owners and over half of seniors who rent are paying 30 to 50 percent of their income to housing, with little left for food, health costs and other needs. These seniors are alarmingly vulnerable to homelessness,” said King County Council Member Fred Jarrett at the groundbreaking.

groundbreaking

It wouldn’t be a groundbreaking without this classic photo op. I was honored to celebrate this important occasion with the civic leaders who are helping to make Providence John Gabriel House a reality.

When we open the doors of this new senior living complex next year, our residents will be able to live independently. They will also have the support of our caregivers along with access to Providence ElderPlace, which will be on site to provide medical care, adult day health and social services.

It truly takes a village to do this type of work, and it’s a great example of how Providence is partnering with others to serve the community. The facility is a collaboration among many organizations, including the City of Redmond, U.S. Bank, the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, King County, Regional Coalition for Housing, Walsh Construction, SAGE Architectural Alliance, GGLO, Shelter Resources, Bellwether Housing and many others.

Sister John Gabriel: “A powerful force for good”

The facility is named for Sister John Gabriel of the Sisters of Providence. She was a passionate advocate for the nursing profession and was once described as a “powerful force for good.” I have no doubt our newest housing ministry will live up to its name sake and be a force for good for each person it serves.

Learn more

If you know someone in need of housing, you can learn more about eligibility and how to apply for Providence John Gabriel House here.

6 Comments
  1. Great!

  2. Great goal, looking forward to see Providence John Gabriel House build up soon.

    Thanks

    Henry

  3. This ministry is dear to my heart – I have a father-in-law who is in an assisted-living home in Kent, and the cost is more than his income every month. My parents are also nearing the time when they will need such a facility. I’m with Melody Turk – I want them to have the Providence experience of caring, loving staff, even though they aren’t among the low-income. And we need something down in the Renton/Kent area, too! Thank you, Rod, senior management, and all the PSCS caregivers who make a difference in the lives of our beloved elders.

  4. I love the Providence House’s we have in our family of ministries.

    We are getting ready to move my grandmother to an assisted living home, so where can I take her to find the “Providence-experience” when she’s not low-income?

    I know you don’t have all the answers; but with all the great things we do at Providence, I want to spread those experiences to my own family. I know when Providence is involved there is care, love, and healing.

  5. It always has been and continues to be a privilege to walk in the footsteps of Emilie Gamelin and continue her legacy, and that of the Sisters of Providence, in providing appropriate, quality, affordable and supportive housing for the most vulnerable members of our communities. I look forward to the day when the Supportive Housing Ministry enjoys a presence in every community where Providence serves.

  6. Many thanks for your gracious acknowledgment of the ministry Providence Housing provides. I’ve been connected to Providence House Oakland in several different capacities for almost twenty years now. It was the passionate dedication and care that I witnessed here first hand for so many years that attracted me to apply to work here full time once I left education. It is a very meaningful and personally enriching ministry and while I’m sorry it is so needed and still in such short supply I am thrilled to be a part of “making a difference” as the Sisters of Providence have always done by walking in the footsteps of their foundress. Many thanks Rod.