Paul Ernest fell on hard times. New to Seattle with no place to go, he found a local shelter to take him in. For 45 years he worked back-breaking labor as a cook at Denny’s, but now the excruciating pain in his lower back was worse than ever, which made carrying a backpack full of his belongings up and down the hills of Seattle nearly impossible.
He found a doctor who discovered his back pain was actually multiple myeloma, bone cancer that was weakening his bones. He needed to start chemotherapy immediately.
Without a home to rest his body and a sanitary place to recover from weekly treatment, Paul asked for help at Pike Market Senior Center. Staff connected him with Mark Lally, a social worker at the Senior Center, who helped Paul apply for low-income housing in Pike Place Market.
Thankfully, an apartment in the LaSalle building had just opened and Paul’s disability check would allow him to afford the modest rent. Yet, he living day-to-day he didn’t have first month’s rent at the ready. Mark immediately contacted The Market Foundation to see if Paul was eligible to receive funds from the Community Safety Net.
The Pike Place Market Community Safety Net provides emergency assistance for Market residents, members of the social service agencies, or of the merchant, daystall and farmer communities who have experienced extraordinary hardship and are in need of assistance to regain their stability. And for someone like Paul, the Safety Net can mean the difference between homeless and housed.
Homeless residents often wait for two or more years to hear their name has finally reached the top of the list to move into housing. But without enough cash to cover first month’s rent and a deposit, this life-changing news can quickly seem like another obstacle.
But, a boost from the Community Safety Net can close this gap, and enable homeless residents to move into housing without losing their spot in line. In 2015, The Market Foundation distributed $9,500 in funds to cover rent and security deposit costs to help Paul and 18 others move home to Pike Place Market.
“By miracle,” Paul says, “the Market’s Safety Net Fund provided first month’s rent I needed to move into housing and begin my treatment right away.”
“It was absolutely wonderful to work with Paul, he is an exceptional person. His housing came at the perfect time and it’s been wonderful to watch him settle into his new place.” – Mark Lally, social worker at Pike Market Senior Center
“The Safety Net – I can’t say enough about it!” says Sandra Dunn, another social worker at the Senior Center, who works alongside Mark. “It’s helped so many people, and it covers things you might not think of, like furniture for residents, and even furniture delivery, since most of our clients are too frail to shop.”
A few months into treatment, Paul is staying healthy and eating well. The smile on his face and the optimism in his voice adds impact to his outlook on life: “I’m going to be okay.”
Donors like you can make a life-changing difference for someone like Paul. Please consider supporting the Community Safety Net today and your gift will help more homeless residents move home to Pike Place Market.
Give online today at pikeplacemarketfoundation.org/donate or return the envelope included in this newsletter.