Lennette’s story from inside the Seattle homelessness crisis

By United Way of King County, on March 14, 2017 | In Fighting Homelessness, Success Stories

For 27 years, Lennette and her family have called the Seattle area home. For almost three decades she has held down jobs, raised her kids and built relationships. All right here in our community. She is social, has a gift for making jewelry and has a great sense of humor. But found herself in the midst of the Seattle homelessness crisis after facing some tough issues.

Two years ago, “home” started to look very different. Lennette has struggled with alcohol addiction and lost her housing. Her health started to decline when she moved to the streets. She had rapid and severe weight loss along with unexplained aches and pains.

She was living in a tent under the freeway near downtown when she was diagnosed with cancer. Then, just two months ago, she had a stroke.

Before leaving the hospital, her daughter and son-in-law gathered up her belongings from under the overpass and took her to their home in Tacoma. Thanks to the support of her family, Lennette is sober and getting the medical care she needs.

This was the first time she had been to the Community Resource Exchange and her smile was lighting up the room. With so many resources under one roof it was hard to know where to start.

Her top two things to do were to replace her Washington state ID that she lost while living on the streets and to be seen by a dentist. Thank goodness the Exchange had services for both!

Homeless woman getting dental exam at the Resource Exchange
Lennette gets dental help thanks to Medical Teams International

Volunteer tour guide Krista helped her navigate the various services. They got her a voucher for a state ID and ensured that she not only was seen by a dentist, but she got a referral to a Tacoma-based dentist who can help long-term. To top it off, she got fresh new socks, shoes and a professional portrait.

Lennette is grateful for her family and also misses her community. More than once, she’s taken the 2-hour bus ride to visit friends for the day. She is making a modest income with her jewelry and is eager to be self-sufficient.

The Community Resource Exchange is in its 13th year and is needed more than ever before given the Seattle homelessness crisis. Want to make a difference? Consider making a donation to help end homelessness in our community today.


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