Client success stories – Eva*

Our success story that we’re sharing today has to do with safety nets – how we at Hospitality House help create them for our clients, so that they can focus on their immediate needs, and not feel so bogged down trying to juggle them all at once.

When Eva* came to Hospitality House, she had been homeless multiple times over the last two years.  Eva lost her long-term job in 2015 and relocated to the Seattle area.  Finding employment took longer than Eva anticipated and she became stuck in a circle of temp work.  Without permanent full-time work, Eva wasn’t able to find permanent housing. Without temp work, Eva was not able to maintain a weekly motel rental.

At intake, Eva reported she had two interviews in the upcoming week.  She explained that not having the burden of paying for housing allowed her to schedule time off from her temp position.  Eva received permanent, full-time offers from both companies.  She settled with the company which offered the most overtime and opportunity to advance.

Eva worked closely with her case manager to find housing. Initially, Eva focused on apartment rentals but ultimately decided on a room rental. Eva thought it was important to save money and create a safety net for herself.  Eva said, “Don’t get me wrong I like Hospitality House, especially the food, but I don’t want to come back unless it’s to volunteer.”

We wish Eva all the success and hope she will return, this time as a volunteer!

*name changed for privacy.


Client Success Story – Dana*

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Dana* came to Hospitality House a few weeks after being released from prison.   The sequence of events that led to her incarceration traces back to many years of heroin addiction. While Dana was sober and had served her time, she often struggled with the shame she felt about her past choices and doubted she deserved a new life.

In a case management meeting, Dana was urged to establish mental health services and soon after began working with a counselor bi-weekly.  Dana began incorporating coping skills and self-care practices into her daily life. Over time, she began to understand that she didn’t have to let her past define her future and she deserved more than her present circumstances.

Dana worked diligently on finding housing and was open-minded about any and all options presented. Dana identified that the most critical piece of establishing her long-term stability was to gain employment. She was aware with gaps in her employment and criminal history that this would be especially challenging. Her case manager connected her with an employment program for additional support, and dedicated several hours a day to her employment search. She attended job fairs, searched online, and followed up on every lead given to her. Eventually, she began to get interviews, often several in the same week.

Dana allowed her actions to speak louder than the voice of self-doubt in her head. By the end of her stay, she gained full-time employment and was accepted into a 2-year transitional housing program. A few weeks after exiting, Dana stopped by for a visit. A bit choked up, she shared she will forever be grateful for Hospitality House because we provided her a safe, supportive place without judgment, which allowed her to blossom.

We wish you all the success, Dana!

*name changed for privacy


Client Story: Tracy

Tracy came to HH after she and her husband were evicted from their apartment.  Tracy lost her job due to health issues and both incomes were needed to maintain housing. Tracy had recently begun a new temp position but it wasn’t in enough time.

Tracy held a warehouse position over the holiday season.  She worked over 50 hours a week due to mandatory overtime. Tracy has a diagnosed back issue and this was a physically demanding position.  She would often come in hunched over and proudly boast, “I worked 13 hours today. I’m sore, tired, need my heating pad but it’s worth it.”  Tracy had a budget, established payment plans for past due bills, and held herself accountable for it.  Almost every payday she gave an update on how many payments were left on different bills.

In mid-January, Tracy was made a permanent employee. She explained she knew, if she just worked hard something would happen.  She was right.  Tracy and her husband have rented an apartment together.


Deanna’s Story

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For the last sixteen years, Deanna has either been unstably housed or homeless.  Deanna abused drugs for most of her adult life and explained this is what primarily lead to the first ten years of her instability.  Deanna was in and out of jail, staying in motels, and explained the uncertainty in her life didn’t bother her because she was so deep in her addiction.

Deanna’s last criminal conviction led to a lengthy sentence.  Deanna explained she had a lot of time to contemplate her life and committed herself to making changes.   Deanna sought out mental health treatment and began actively working with a therapist. She completed a chemical dependency program in 2010 and has been sober ever since.  She explained that while she was sober, finding housing was difficult because of her criminal history, poor credit, and having a low income.

Deanna stayed with her adult daughter for five years. Deanna didn’t have a room and wasn’t on the lease. Deanna explained while she was able to help with rent, she always felt like a burden.  When her daughter decided to move, Deanna didn’t have anywhere to go.

Deanna came to Hospitality House with a strong determination to continue down the positive path she was taking. Deanna attended therapy, mental health & sobriety groups, and chemical dependency counseling regularly.  She explained that even though she had been sober for six years, she needed ongoing support because she was breaking a lifetime of addiction. Hospitably House provided Deanna with the support and structure she needed to stay on course.  She had ongoing case management services and onsite counseling.  She participated in workshops and immediately incorporated her new found skills into her daily life.  It is safe to say Deanna’s confidence and self-esteem grew immensely during her stay.

Deanna had applied for a housing voucher in 2010.  Just after she entered our program, she found out she approved. Deanna was anxious about looking for an apartment.  She wasn’t sure the best way to organize her search or how to present herself in a favorable light.  Deanna worked closely with Hospitality House staff and received guidance willingly.  She spent countless hours researching and calling apartments.  Her diligence paid off because for the first time in sixteen years she had the keys to her own apartment and complete independence.


Brenda’s Story

Even though she had lived in a transitional housing facility for over a year, Brenda was unsuccessful in securing permanent housing. As a result, she ended up using her disability income to stay in a motel for two months prior to entering our shelter.

Brenda suffers from severe rheumatoid arthritis which limits the mobility in her arms, hips and back. Even the basic self-care tasks most of us take for granted could be quite difficult for her, making it hard to clean house, cook, walk to the bus stop or climb the steps to board the bus.

After assessing her needs, we helped Brenda apply for Seattle Metro Transit’s Access bus service which provides door to door transportation with special accommodations for seniors and people with disabilities.  We also modified her chore duties allowing her to do her part to help keep our home clean and contribute to the daily structure of our program.

When the opportunity arose for her to secure a studio apartment, Brenda became fearful and concerned that she wouldn’t be able to manage. We discussed her options and together made a decision to ask DSHS to evaluate her for their Aging and Disability Services Program. Reassured that we would follow up until she secured the level of care she needed, Brenda accepted the much needed housing.

On moving day, our Director, Natalie Reber, handed her a big surprise – one of the Starter Kits lovingly put together by volunteers from each of our supporting churches. These kits are filled with dishes, various kinds of everyday necessities and even a few fun items to help the women get started in their new homes. Brenda, with head held high and face beaming with delight, stepped out of the door of our shelter that day!

A few weeks later, she called ecstatic to share the good news that DSHS had approved home care services to help her with grooming, errands, and house cleaning as well as monitor her changing needs. What a joy it was for us to see the transformation that took place. Clearly, Brenda now had a new lease on life!

In Brenda’s words:

You promised you would try and you sure didn’t let me down. No one ever bothered to explain all of this to me before, so I didn’t know I could get this kind of help. Now, because you took the time to do this, they’re going to send someone out to help me on a regular basis so I can live in my own apartment and keep it nice and clean just the way I like it! Isn’t that something? I’ll never forget what you did for me. God Bless Hospitality House for being there for me when I needed it!