LIHI Gala & Auction a Big Success!
On November 15th, LIHI hosted its 11th annual Gala & Auction at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel in downtown Seattle. It was an evening to remember - full of good friends, wonderful food, and spirited support for LIHI's mission. The event raised over $290,000 for LIHI's supportive services, the Urban Rest Stop, & Nickelsville. Thank you to all of LIHI's generous sponsors and supporters!   
LIHI Supporters Raised the Paddle for $37,345!

Chocolate collision narrowly averted in the Dessert Dash,

which raised $11,143.80 for the Urban Rest Stop

Housing Heroes
A special Housing Hero Awards ceremony held during the Gala honored Architect Carolyn Geise, the Nickelsville homeless encampment, and recently deceased former Seattle City Councilmember Cheryl Chow for their contributions to housing low-income and homeless people.
Carolyn Geise
Architect Carolyn Geise receives Housing Hero Award
from LIHI executive Director Sharon Lee
LIHI was pleased to award Architect Carolyn Geise the 2013 Housing Hero Award for her work with LIHI and other nonprofits in designing low-income housing and community facilities. She is also a community activist and was a leader and advocate promoting housing and sustainable green design for Belltown. Her practice encompasses a wide variety of work including notable residential design for homeless women, emotionally disturbed children and families with children. She completed LIHI's 43-unit Martin Court transitional housing for homeless families and singles; Noel House and Rose of Lima Shelter for homeless women with the Archdiocesan Housing Authority, the Seattle Children's Home Activity Center, Northwest Burn Center and other housing and facilities. Carolyn pioneered the creation of a unique human and natural community environment in Seattle's Belltown, the much-admired Growing Vine Street project.

Residents, staff, and Friends of Nickelsville share

a warm moment with Sharon Lee at the Gala

Sheltering and empowering thousands of homeless people with democratic decision-making and self-management since 2008, Nickelsville was honored as a 2013 Housing Hero.
When all the emergency shelters are full and there is not enough low-income housing, Nickelsville offers families and individuals a sense of community and a safe place to live. Too many people have died (44 women and men in 2013) from violence and exposure from living unsheltered on the streets of Seattle. In September, LIHI partnered with the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church to host Nickelsville on Jackson Street.  Today there are 35 homeless men, women and children living on site in tents and simple wood structures. 70 other men and women live at two other sites at 22nd & Union Street in Seattle and in Skyway.
Night after night homeless families show up with no other place to go. Many have infants and small children. Many are people of color or immigrants/refugees. Battered women and single-mothers with children show up to sleep in a tent. This should not happen in a wealthy city like Seattle! We honor Nickelsville for sheltering homeless people and advocating for housing as a human right.
Cheryl Chow

Cheryl Chow speaking at the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the

Urban Rest Stop, which she fought for while on the City Council

The Low Income Housing Institute is pleased to announce the naming our new housing for seniors in Ballard Cheryl Chow Court after educator, former City Councilwoman, and Housing Hero Cheryl Chow.
Cheryl passed away in March of 2013 at the age of 66. We thank her partner Sarah Morningstar and the Chow family for granting us permission to name our housing after Cheryl. LIHI is building 50 units of low-income senior housing at 2014 NW 57th Street. This is a terrific location for seniors as the housing is down the street from the Ballard Public Library and Ballard Commons, and is close to Swedish Ballard, shopping and many amenities. A Ballard Urban Rest Stop which will provide free showers, laundry and restrooms to homeless men, women and children will be housed on the first floor of the new building.
We admire and praise Cheryl for her fearless leadership. She was instrumental in the creation of the Urban Rest Stop in downtown Seattle 14 years ago. When she was chair of the Seattle City Council's Housing and Human Services Committee, she secured funding for LIHI to purchase the Julie Apartments and to locate the Urban Rest Stop on the first floor. She stood up to NIMBY opposition and challenged former Mayor Norm Rice's decision to back down on providing accessible hygiene services to homeless people. Cheryl's leadership on the City Council enabled Bob Santos, the HUD Regional Administrator, to provide multi-year operating funds of $400,000 per year for the Urban Rest Stop. These funds would have been at-risk if a viable site such as the Julie Apartments had not been identified in a timely way. Cheryl was also a visionary in getting the Seattle City Council to approve the development of housing for homeless families, youth and singles at the former Sand Point Naval Station at Magnuson Park. In the past, there was significant community opposition and Cheryl worked diligently with housing advocates, including LIHI, Frank Chopp of the Fremont Public Association, and others to ensure that homeless people have a place to call home.
While many people remember Cheryl for her passionate work with children in the education field, let us celebrate her too for being a housing and human services leader and champion. Join us for the upcoming groundbreaking of Cheryl Chow Court!

Cheryl Chow Court

Rendering by GGLO Architects

Resident Speakers  

Moving speeches at the Gala by LIHI residents Nancy (left)

and Thomasine (right) were a highlight of the night.

Nancy's Story
I'm Nancy, I live at LIHI's Frye Apartments in Pioneer Square. I grew up in Seattle, on Beacon Hill and Rainier Valley. Until 2009, I was a student and worked part time while living with my family. I worked different types of food service jobs and at sport events. But I wanted to get a stable, well-paying job, so I enrolled in UW's economics program. As college was becoming more demanding I thought it would be best to focus on school. That's when my mother asked me to find my own place. Suddenly I became homeless.
I stayed in a shelter, then found an apartment but quickly got behind on my rent, and faced homelessness again. Managing my disability check money was very difficult. I didn't know how to stay on top of paying my bills, especially rent. During my second stay at a shelter a housing counselor helped me apply for an apartment at the Frye. I was lucky. A studio opened up after just a few months.
My place was great - 10th floor with a Peek A Boo View of the stadium, and came equipped with a dresser, kitchen table, and a bed. When I first moved in, I was unemployed, and the economy was very bad. I had large medical bills from a surgery, and had to deal with a credit card scam. I had been living on money from SSDI, so after paying my rent and bills there was never much left for food. But moving into the Frye opened up many new opportunities.
I started getting involved in free activities offered to the residents: the writing club, cooking on a budget, art and photography classes with Path with Art. This year, I even got to go to Olympia for the first time with eleven other LIHI residents and talked to my legislators. Participating in the activities helped me make friends, start new adventures, and become more confident in myself. Things were beginning to look a little brighter.
Earlier this year I ran across a flier about an AARP job training program for people 55 and over. I was very excited -- I had just turned 55! They gave me a temporary job at the food bank and helped me look for permanent employment. After just two months I got hired at the stadium as a food stand lead. I'm in charge of inventory, staff, and deal with cash. I really like math, so this position suits me very well. With the economy getting better, I was also able to secure an additional on-call cafeteria job with Seattle schools. Those two jobs, though seasonal and on-call, helped me pay off my medical bills. My boyfriend Audie lives at the Frye too and we are able to support each other when money runs out. I can now afford to buy a little bit more food instead of going to the food bank so much. I also bought four little turtles to keep me company and cheer me up. I have now called the Frye my home for 4 years.
Without LIHI's help, I would not be able to afford the rent on my own, and neither would my Frye neighbors.
Thomasine's Story
Hello, my name is Thomasine Khan. I grew up in Seattle, graduated from Rainier Beach high school; I am a mom to three kids and I am an Army gulf war veteran. I am fortunate to have just moved into permanent housing at the Denice Hunt Townhomes through LIHI as of October 1st this year.
So nearly a year and a half ago my life fell apart at the seams. I had an unsupportive spouse who couldn't hold a job while battling drug and gambling addictions, I worked nights and came home to a two year old who wanted mommy's attention.[ I did not get proper sleep if at all because] his father refused to watch our son so I could get some sleep. I had the stresses of being the only responsible adult, the only person earning an income, the only person making sure the bills got paid, the only person taking care of all the household chores. I was also battling legal and financial issues that my spouse had brought into our marriage. I was just barely existing. Everything completely caved in when I discovered my two year old was being slapped and marked by my adult son, who was watching him while I worked. It was at this point that I knew I had to make immediate changes.
I could not stay at my job without child care, so I left it. I went to stay with friends and found out there was drug and domestic violence issues going on in that household. I decided to come to the Seattle Veterans hospital to seek help. They could not help with shelter. I ended up living out of my car because there were no places for a single mother to go, even though she is living in her car with her two year old son. I sent my Middle School-aged daughter to live with my step-mother so she could at least have stability. I lived out of my car for one week while calling every single phone number that was given to me by 211, begging for a place to stay and scared out of my mind at the possibility of losing my two year old because I was homeless. At the end of that frightening week, I got offered motel vouchers through the YWCA and then finally Mary's Place shelter accepted us.
I applied for DSHS benefits and immediately went to the doctors to have my two year old son checked over because of the abuse and neglect he had suffered while I was working. I found a part time job demonstrating food. I heard about a program called Bankworks that the YWCA puts on and applied for it. I got into transitional housing through LIHI at the Cate apartments, the first week of December last year. After living in a shelter, It felt like moving into a palace even though it was a one bedroom place!. Luckily my new apartment was close to my step mother's place and my daughter did not have to change schools. A month later I found out I was accepted into the YWCA Bankworks program and started classes three days a week and still worked part time doing the food demos. At the end of class I landed a job with a bank as a part-time teller I'm happy to say. I am now considering going back to school and will be researching all my options very soon.
I probably made this sound easy, but along this journey I cried and I despaired. More importantly I never gave up. If I run into an obstacle I find a way around it. My determination kept me going and I knew I would find a way to survive and make a better life for my children. LIHI Housing, both transitional and permanent, helped me to reach all my goals.   
Thank you again to all of our supporter who helped make the Gala and Auction such a success!  We hope to see you next year! 
To see more photos from the event, please see: Auction Photos. Big thanks to photographer Dave Greer!
Have a great Thanksgiving!
Sharon Lee
Executive Director

Low Income Housing Institute