After living in California and Montana, I moved to Seattle in 1995 where I met the love of my life. We lived happily in Seattle for over 20 years until 2 years ago when my partner’s children assumed power of attorney and put him into a nursing home in California. Without his income, I became homeless. I didn’t know what to do. I found some work for trade and camped out for a while, but couldn’t keep that lifestyle up.

Last fall, I met someone on the bus who was going to Elizabeth Gregory Home. She invited me to come along and I’ve been coming in to EGH every day since then. To me, EGH feels like a fluffy blanket. It’s soft and warm and it really is a safe haven from the streets. Everyone at EGH genuinely cares about us and have been very supportive. Staff have helped me complete housing applications and there’s always a word of encouragement from the staff.

I have my food handler’s permit, so I offered to help in the kitchen. I like to volunteer around the Day Center as it gives me something to do. I volunteer two days each week in the kitchen, and once each week distributing donated clothing. It means a lot to me to be productive and to help out where and when I can.

I’ve been able to rebuild my strength here at EGH and frankly, the place lifts my spirits. Being part of this community is like enjoying a mug of warm chowder on a rainy day. I rely on EGH for showers, laundry and most importantly the computer. I like to keep in touch with family and friends who live all over the country and the computers allow me to do that.

I also appreciate the care and consideration put into the meals and the food available to take to go. I can get gluten-free and vegetarian options, and that’s important to me. The dental van is another thing that EGH offers that I don’t think any other program does. Every three months, a huge van parks out in front of the church that has a complete dental exam room inside. We can see the dental hygienist to get our teeth cleaned or if needed, the dentist—all for free. Additionally, I now have a Primary Care Physician, thanks to the staff here at EGH providing me with referrals to health care providers.

I really hope that in 2018 I can find my own apartment, or perhaps opportunities for communal living. I’ve learned a lot being homeless and will continue to learn from all the people I meet here at EGH.  Someday, I’d like to pay it forward and help others, but I know I have to get myself together first.

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