“I’m so full of hope!,” “I feel so catered to” and “You all make me feel like it’s my birthday” were just some of the sentiments shared by guests today at the Community Resource Exchange. More than 1,600 people experiencing homelessness came out to be the center of more than 500 volunteers’ and 100 service providers attention at CenturyLink.
But today was about more than the numbers. Today was about connecting. About looking people in the eye, sharing stories and being kind to one another.
Our community has been in a homelessness crisis for so long that we sometimes forget these basics. Talking to each other, recognizing that our varied backgrounds shape our experiences and perceptions—and taking the time to connect can take us a long way.
We captured some of those connections and wanted to share just a few here:
• Hassan has been unhoused for nearly a year. He spent much of the morning making the rounds with his volunteer tour guide from Bank of America. He got some fresh socks from the Amazon treasure truck, a sweatshirt from SanMar and a hot meal from FareStart. The best connection of the day? He landed a job with Uber, who was hiring for both drivers and UberEats on the spot.
• Ode has been homeless for more than six months and is working hard to get back on his feet in order to have more time with his daughter. Beth from Nordstrom was able to help him navigate all the services – he got his food handlers permit and had follow up appointments with Centerplate and FareStart.
• Shalena came to the Resource Exchange with a friend, hoping to get a haircut and some new shoes. Her community has helped her move from homelessness to an apartment just recently, after being unhoused for a long time. She interviewed for a job at Amazon and left with a start date of next week!
• Ayden moved to Seattle last year after his family shut him out after identifying as transgender. He’s found a more welcoming community in Seattle and a job, but has yet to be able to afford an apartment. He was enjoying the day—and a hot lunch—with friends before heading over to the housing resources area.
Thanks to our generous sponsors for making these connections happen today. The event ended at 2:00, but these connections and kindness will stay with the guests and the volunteers for weeks to come.