Washington - "This is my own sanctuary."
Brenda’s story: Providence Vincent House and Booth Gardens - Seattle, Washington
Brenda, 72, is no stranger to both hard work and hardship. In her younger years in Omaha, Neb., Brenda worked as a certified nursing assistant for 15 years and a hair stylist for 25 years. Later, when she moved to Seattle to be closer to her grown kids and grandchildren, Brenda faced many difficulties – including two close family members’ deaths within one week, issues with post-traumatic stress, an inability to work due to health issues and ongoing housing insecurity. It was tough to find a safe, reliable place to live because of her financial situation and other circumstances.
“I was crying all the time,” she recalls.
Brenda was in and out of homeless shelters and living in transitional housing for about five months. She recalls reaching a low point one rainy Friday. She was standing in line at the local food bank and was getting drenched.
Brenda says she remember thinking, “’Lord, how did I get here?’ It was like an out-of-body experience looking at myself, rain pouring over me. Lord I have to get out of here.”
Shortly after that, her case manager in the transitional housing location gave Brenda some unexpected news. She said that Brenda could move into a studio apartment that had become available at Providence Vincent House in Seattle. Brenda moved in the next week, and it profoundly changed her life.
Although Brenda was very grateful to have safe, stable housing, she told the Providence Vincent House director, Jennifer Bachhuber, that she didn’t have any furniture or basic items for her apartment. Jennifer and other Providence team members helped Brenda get a bed, couch, coffee table, desk, microwave and more to set up her apartment.
“Now I have a bed and everything,” said Brenda. “Vincent House takes in the homeless first. People of different ways. If you need something, they are really thoughtful here.”
Brenda lived in her studio apartment at Providence Vincent House for eight years and eventually transferred to another Providence supportive housing community, Booth Gardens, to have a better living situation with her daughter. She and her daughter now live together in a two-bedroom apartment. This type of housing provides an important safety net for vulnerable seniors who have lost stable housing, and where possible such as in Brenda’s situation, close family members are housed together.
Home to Brenda is, “where I can come in from outside … my own sanctuary and way of living.”
About the Providence Supportive Housing Program
Providence Vincent House at Pike Place Market in Seattle, and Booth Gardens in north Seattle, are two of 16 Providence supportive housing communities in three states - Washington, Oregon and California. The program provides permanent, affordable and safe housing for more than 950 seniors and people with disabilities who have very low incomes. Each location is a caring, respectful community with on-site service coordination to promote independence and aging in place.