We are committed to lifting voices of people with lived experience in homelessness to bring their unique insight and empathy to EGH’s work.

As the Housing and Urban Development Agency explains, “Those with lived experiences of homelessness typically have the best understanding of the reality of our work to prevent and end homelessness – both in terms of the problems that exist and the knowledge of the services and interventions that are the most effective solutions. This is why it is so important to meaningfully and intentionally integrate them into the decision-making structure of our work at the system and program level. When we consult the experts, service implementations are made more relevant and responsive.”

In the past year, we have added a board member and two additional staff who have all experienced homelessness and were past clients of EGH. Their insight, feedback, ideas, and connection to the community is an incredible asset that we all value greatly.

Lonness Valenna is an advocate for our diverse clients as well as a breath of fresh air, a fairy godmother, a past client who has experienced homelessness, and EGH helped her overcome homelessness.  She has been a volunteer in the EGH kitchen, and she wants to give back the enormous kindness she was shown by staff while she was a guest of EGH. Lonness has been a board member of the Gender Alliance of South Sound and was a founding board member of the Gender Justice League.

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