YWCA’s Project Reunite provides permanent supportive housing for women and men experiencing homelessness and in treatment for addiction, so they can reunite with children who were temporarily removed from their custody.
Residents are supported by on-site family advocates and meet with them weekly. Together they create plans for self-sufficiency, identify and overcome barriers to permanent housing and set goals for education, employment, financial security, legal issues, mental health, and more.
Participants in this program live at Trinity Place Apartments, an innovative community partnership between YWCA, travel guru Rick Steves, and the Rotary Club of Edmonds. Steves purchased the 24-unit apartment building in 2005 and donated it to YWCA in 2016; Edmonds Rotary members volunteer and contribute to building maintenance.
Rotary’s History with Trinity
In early 2003, Edmonds Noon Rotary club launched their partnership with the YWCA and Rick Steves to build a four-plex community – initially for the YWCA’s Transitional Housing for women in need. This project would soon be known as the Centennial Project – a celebration of the Rotary’s 100th anniversary.
Eventually, the Trinity building was purchased (rather than undergo new construction) and Rick Steves let the YWCA use it for their Transitional Housing program, forming with the Edmonds Rotary Noon Club a 15-year partnership. While the program has morphed through the years, it’s primary focus has remained on helping kids and homeless families.
The Edmonds Rotary club’s primary focus has been the grounds, where Rotarians organize work parties for annual maintenance or minor facility improvements. As an example, several years ago the club installed a large playground and it still stands today, getting much use from the kids.
In other years, our projects have ranged from yard care to pressure washing to fence building…and rebuilding! In 2015 we modified one room from a meeting room to a children’s room that featured donated toys, books, movies and other playful items so the kids would have an inside place to play.
In 2017 our club acquired a $25,000 grant from the Hazel Miller Foundation, specifically for Trinity Place. These funds were used for larger improvements that our club were unable to physically handle, including:
- installation of a security camera system
- added safety features to secure upper decks to protect the children
- enhanced grounds lighting and,
- eight new windows in one building to replace failing ones.
2018 brings opportunities for another grounds work party, cleaning up the yard and pressure washing the structures. More importantly, the Edmonds Rotary Noon club will be partnering with Windermere Edmonds, who has chosen the facility to be painted in THEIR outreach program. This is a very exciting partnership because they can take the project to a level our club can’t at this point. Windermere has some very eager workers, ready to get their hands on a very tired exterior! The Edmonds Rotary Noon club will be purchasing the paint for this project.
But the Edmonds Rotary club doesn’t stop at the grounds projects. Club members also contribute to the program in other areas. For example, we’ve have had members coach residents in interviews, budgeting and other professional skill sets. One fun program enhancement consists of filling “spring baskets” for the kids (including a little something for the parents).
The club also provides Welcome Kits to incoming parents filled some very essential items that are surprisingly hard to come by for someone who was previously homeless. These include a bucket, broom, dustpan, mop, plunger, cleaning items, shower curtain and even a can opener.
One of the club’s favorite ways to help is to purchase backpacks filled with school supplies for every child in residence. These are handed out to them during an annual Back-to-School BBQ the Edmonds Rotary club hosts at the site — and we even provide entertainment! (this year look for Mack the Magician!).
There is nothing like the smile on a child’s face!
You can learn more and access a YWCA narrative on the project at https://www.ywcaworks.org/programs/project-reunite
We’ll be hosting a work party at Trinity Place this Friday and Saturday, July 20-21. To learn more about it (and Edmonds Rotary) please visit EdmondsRotary.com or email Edmonds Rotary President [email protected].
— By Elise Hegrat, Edmonds Rotary
Sponsored by Edmonds Rotary Club