Christmas Eve will find me where the love light gleams, I’ll be home for Christmas if only in my dreams.
What gets you in the spirit of the season? Do you take your children to look at Christmas lights, decorate your house while sipping on eggnog, or watch your favorite holiday movies while snuggled up in matching family pajamas? For many, a month’s worth (or more) of effort goes into orchestrating the perfect holiday. For the ladies of Hospitality House, the search for stability continues while their neighbors and friends decorate their trees. They make countless phone calls trying to find an affordable apartment or a job that can support them. Our residents rely on our staff, volunteers and donors to make their holiday special so they may continue their efforts.
Staff helps residents decorate to make the shelter feel more cozy and festive, and volunteers provide delicious homemade dinners nightly, but there are some things you can do to go above and beyond this time of year. Our donations needed lists are carefully crafted with the health, safety, and happiness of our residents in mind. This particular month, though, we request a bit more. We ask that you throw in a bit of Christmas magic to make the love light gleam here at Hospitality House.
If you’d like to gift Hospitality House with a little extra at no cost to you, you can make purchases through smile.amazon.com and select Hospitality House as your chosen organization. Find out more here.
Last week Hospitality House confirmed its first COVID-19 exposure. After a client tested positive, Hospitality House staff and King County Public Health immediately began to work in concert. Clients were taken to an offsite accommodation to safely quarantine. The shelter has been temporarily closed to accommodate cleaning and a 14-day quarantine for both clients and staff.
The continued safety of our clients, staff, and volunteers remains our utmost priority. We remain steadfast in our high standards and appreciate your support as we negotiate our health and safety plan.
Don was a driving force in bringing Hospitality House into being.
In the 1990’s, the Seattle Presbytery convened a team to address homelessness. Rev. Charles Kothe, pastor of Lake Burien Presbyterian Church and a member of the Presbytery’s Social Justice and Peacemaking Committee, invited churches in the Highline Community to participate.
Don, chair of LBPC’s Social Justice Outreach Committee, became a leading member of the Hospitality House Steering Committee, along with representatives of 10 founding churches. He worked tirelessly with others, attending Burien City Council Meetings and hearings, completing applications and paperwork required to establish a shelter, fundraising, writing Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation, doing outreach in the neighborhood… a comprehensive undertaking. Initially many in the community were hostile and belligerent. One woman in particular, upon learning that LBPC was seeking to be a site for a homeless shelter, sent out letters and posted notices in the local Post Office that read in part: “HOMELESS SHELTER COMING SOON NEXT TO YOUR HOME – PROPERTY VALUES DECREASE…INCREASED PERSONAL DANGER.” She urged people to come to a meeting the Steering Committee planned to present the shelter plan. About 80 people attended. The crowd was hostile, belligerent, confrontational and it did not go well.
Don continued the work despite the initial anger and unpleasant resistance encountered. Over months community support increased, the public hearings became positive and Hospitality House came into being, opening its doors October of 2000. It was not the end for Don: He became the first Hospitality House Board president.
It was not the end for Don: He became the first Hospitality House Board president.
He and his wife, Lee Weber, have continued to support HH for the past 20 years in various capacities. A Boeing electrical engineer by profession, Don had wide interests and many wonderful adventures with his family. But it is his belief in and commitment to social justice, in word and action, that has made immeasurable difference for hundreds of women who have sought safety and shelter.
Hospitality House is grateful for
Don’s life and his work.
He will be missed but leaves behind a legacy.
Our sincerest condolences to Lee and Don’s family.
Soroptimist International is a global volunteer organization that provides women and girls with access to the education and training necessary to achieve economic empowerment. Their mission is to ensure women and girls have the resources and opportunities to reach their full potential and live their dreams. So, it is no wonder why Soroptimist International of Seattle South, has been a longtime Partner and supporter of Hospitality House in our mission to help homeless women find home, health, and hope.
“The hardest part of my week is finding a safe place to be when the shelter is closed.”
years, Hospitality House has been essential to our Residents in helping them
regain a sense of place. It is impossible to consider one’s personhood apart
from place. A person’s sense of belonging, livelihood, and community are often
what cultivate the context of place. This place is where a person typically
calls home. For the 90 days that our Residents are in our program, their sense
of “Home” is found in the physical location of Hospitality House. The problem
that many of our Residents faced was that “Home” at Hospitality House was only
open all day Monday-Friday. Our Residents had to seek shelter elsewhere during
the daytime hours every weekend. Some of
these shelter options were not the safest environment. Our residents work diligently all week long
to achieve the requirements of their goal work… often times, they would say,
“The hardest part of my week is finding a safe place to be when the shelter is
We have a budget to keep our shelter open 24 hours a day, Monday – Friday. While an open shelter 5 out of 7 days
is good, it still was not an ideal situation for our Residents as they were
still in need of shelter on the weekends.
This year, Soroptimist changed this dynamic by stepping up and meeting the needs
of our Residents head on. After hearing the worries, concerns, and hardships
that our Residents faced regarding the stress and anxiety of finding somewhere
to be on Out Days – Soroptimist took it upon themselves to make a difference. When
one of their generous donors gifted Soroptimist a substantial monetary gift to
be used toward the empowerment of women and girls – Soroptimist decided to
designate those funds to Hospitality House. Soroptimist saw the need of our Residents
and responded in a very tangible way. With this amazing gift, Hospitality House
was able to hire a weekend staff to keep our doors open on the Saturdays and
Sundays during harshest months of the year. Soroptimist provided Hospitality
House with this covering, and we in turn were able to cover our Residents
entirely during these months. The difference was undeniable. Our Resident
recipients were rested, refreshed and ready to work each week.
A few weeks ago, we received a note from the Soroptimist International of
Seattle South Vice President, Sharon Mann saying, “We feel Hospitality House
gives women the security to feel safe and empowered to excel. Without the
safety of shelter, life comes to a standstill because it takes all of one’s
energy to find safety. In addition, Hospitality House provides resources
to women helping them find a path to their future. This all aligns with the
mission and vision of Soroptimist. Many of us have either faced or have come
close to facing the same situations these women are experiencing. We understand
the sheer terror of feeling helpless and hopeless. We as a community need to
uplift one another and that is what the partnership between Hospitality House
and Soroptimist does.” These words came on the heels of the exciting news.
Soroptimist will be partnering with us this year, by committing to meet the
needs of our Residents once again.
we all just need someone to save the day. Soroptimist saved our weekends!
We love our community, want everyone to be safe, and in keeping with recommendations by King County Public Health, the Hospitality House Board of Directors has made the decision to postpone the Spring Fling Fundraiser scheduled for Saturday, March 7.
Our new date will be announced soon and tickets will be automatically transferred. We look forward to celebrating our 20th anniversary when it is safe for everyone take part. We appreciate your understanding as we prioritize the needs of the greater community and will be in touch soon with more information.