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a sustainable solution to homelessness

Reflecting on GLY employee involvement in the local community over the past 20 years, I can’t help but smile with inspiration, pride and joy. With so many opportunities to contribute, employees are encouraged to engage with organizations focused on causes that they personally connect with and GLY will support in any way we can. I’m honored to be a part of a firm that supports a grassroots approach to community engagement and enjoy seeing such diversity of philanthropic involvement throughout the company.

Alongside the many efforts of other employees, and after exploring a variety of organizations that spoke to me throughout my career, I recently stepped into a new role for an organization that has been near and dear to my heart for many years: Mary’s Place. As one of its newest Board Members, I would like to share why its efforts strike a chord with me as well as one of the organization’s most recent accomplishments in tackling the homelessness crisis in Seattle.

Why Mary’s Place?

Mary’s Place believes that no child should sleep outside. They provide safe, inclusive shelter and services that support women, children and families on their journey out of homelessness. Their efforts keep struggling families together and provide them with resources to find housing and employment—giving them a foundation to sustain a life and loving home for years to come.

We are now experiencing a time like no other, when family homelessness is a grave concern for many in the community. Private, non-profit organizations like Mary’s Place are key to keeping families off the streets, and more importantly, tackling the root of the problem—whether it’s economic, mental, physical, or a combination of struggles—by providing resources to help people begin living more healthy, hopeful, and self-sustainable lives. With the support of our community over the last year, Mary’s Place has helped nearly 500 families get back on their feet by dealing with homelessness on the back-end.

I am passionate about child welfare; no child should live where drugs are within reaching distance, or family members are abusive, or there is no food on the table. No child should sleep outside. My journey with Mary’s Place begins with this conviction and in serving on the Board, I hope to help stem the cycle of homelessness through early intervention and services designed to help families achieve financial stability and create a secure home environment. By doing so, we hope to achieve a more sustainable solution to homelessness and reduce related traumas for the future.

2018 Marys Place Burien Open House

GLY CEO Jim Karambales [center] and MEP Preconstruction Manager Reggie Grantham [left of Jim] join Mary’s Place Executive Director Marty Hartman [far right] and other volunteers and philanthropists at the open house for the new Mary’s Place Family Center in Burien on September 25, 2018.

Mary’s Place Family Center in Burien

Once a drop-in day center for single women experiencing homelessness in downtown Seattle, Mary’s Place now operates seven emergency family shelters, four of which are resource centers in King County.

In May of 2018, philanthropists Mark and Lisa Caputo generously donated $1M and partnered with Mary’s Place to reach a major milestone: the purchase of its very first permanent home. GLY teamed with many firms including Kinzer Partners, Seneca Group, P+W Architects, Star Rentals, Stoneway Construction Supply, Custom Building Products, Matheus Lumber, Pacific Power, Madden Mechanical, Northstar, Snyder Roofing, Sessler, Inc., Spectra, Long Painting, Sherwin Williams, Patriot Fire Protection, Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co., Inc., McKinstry, Cochran Electric, Pac Rim Environmental, and Aspect Consulting to provide more than $50,000 of in-kind and pro bono services to convert the former Lakeside Milam Recovery Center in Burien, Washington into a safe and usable family shelter. The Burien Family Center opened its doors on August 8, 2018 and immediately began filling an important need in the community.

Similar to Mary’s Place family centers in North Seattle, Northshore, and White Center; the new Burien location provides housing and employment resources during the day, and shelter at night for just over 300 moms, dads, and children. It is also home for the Mary’s Place Popsicle Place program, which provides private space and medical care in a safe and nurturing setting to families with children who are critically ill.

It is hard to believe how much was accomplished in the short three months between first acquiring the property and its opening, especially considering it had been vacant for over a year and in major need of renovations. It is also a testament to what a community of like-minded firms can achieve when it comes together.

marys place grand opening speaker

Burien Site Director Arlene Hampton addresses a crowd of Mary’s Place supporters at the Burien Family Center open house.

As a construction company, we have many resources to share, whether it is hands-on craftsmanship or skilled problem solving. This pairs well with Mary’s Place’s model—partner with anyone and everyone who can help. Looking ahead, I believe Mary’s Place and many other non-profits will only get stronger and make a difference in the lives of so many in need. Thank you to those who are willing to come together as part of a solution.

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