A Safe Refuge
When the world was closing, our doors remained open.
In March of 2020 when the entire country went into lockdown, Elizabeth Gregory Home staff was committed to keeping the doors of our Day Center open to the women we serve, even at the height of the pandemic. Read about our impact below or download a PDF of the 2020 Annual Report.
Message from Elizabeth Gregory Home’s Board President
Gloria Gaynor released her hit “I Will Survive” in 1978. This song focuses on female-empowerment and the courage needed when moving on after a bad relationship. Over the years, it has taken on meaning for anyone who has overcome adversity. In 2020, it served as a very fitting theme as Elizabeth Gregory Home persevered to address the critical needs of vulnerable women accessing our services. WE SURVIVED and are continuing to move forward!
2020 was all about the pandemic and how to stay the course throughout such challenging times. Our staff members were absolutely amazing in keeping the doors open all six scheduled days a week. Not only did we succeed in meeting the essential needs of women experiencing homelessness, but we did so without the help of volunteers, WE SURVIVED!
Elizabeth Gregory Home’s annual spring fundraising event was scheduled to take place in March just as the reality of the pandemic began surfacing. Despite cancelling at the last minute, our supporters stepped up and helped us reach our targeted revenue goal. WE SURVIVED under these exceptional circumstances!
We planned to start the highly anticipated commercial kitchen project in 2020, but the pandemic thwarted the launch date. But WE SURVIVED and look forward to the completion of this major project in 2021. Once completed, it will make a tremendous difference for Elizabeth Gregory Home’s existing and future food services programs.
At the core of Elizabeth Gregory Home’s ability to survive is the steadfast support of and belief in our mission by valued donors. Highlights of the impact of your investment can be found throughout this report. I hope you join me in singing Gloria Gaynor’s hit, as EGH is indeed not only SURVIVING, but THRIVING! Thank you!
Experiencing Homelessness During the Time of Covid-19
The pandemic strained or eliminated many available community safety nets for those experiencing homelessness. Many women who lived paycheck to paycheck lost jobs and couldn’t afford to cover basic needs. Additionally, women living in shelters or on the streets had limited ability to wash their hands, take a shower, or clean their clothes; all critical to keeping healthy. With limited library hours, even finding a bathroom was challenging. Access to nutritious food, also critical to health, was often restricted. The challenges for anyone experiencing homelessness intensified during the pandemic.
Elizabeth Gregory Home worked quickly to put health precautions in place. With masks, social distancing, and continued emphasis on hygiene, we never closed our doors and remained a source of comfort women could count on.
The Impact of the Pandemic on the Number of Women Served
In the summer of 2020, King County and the City of Seattle began contracting with hotels to temporarily house those who were unsheltered and many night shelters were granted permission to be open 24 hours (versus solely overnight). With these new options for daytime shelter, some women who previously sought EGH services accessed them elsewhere. Thus the total number of individual women served in 2020 decreased from prior years. However, the acuity of needs presented by our clients we did help increased. Since the pandemic began, nearly 30% of our participants were living outdoors, often because their mental health and/or addiction issues prevented them from successfully living in the 24-hour shelters. When others closed their doors to these women, EGH welcomed them – providing essential services and compassionate care to those most vulnerable.
We are so grateful to the individuals, corporations, foundations, and faith communities who invested in the lives of women experiencing homelessness.