Supportive housing taking shape at Sand Point

The final phase of Solid Ground’s housing development at the former Naval Station Puget Sound is taking place along Sand Point Way and just to the east of our Brettler Family Place.

Building 5, view from the south

Building 5, view from the south

Building 5, now being framed in the area just south of the long brick historic barracks building, contains five family homes as well as housing for 33 single men and women.

Building 4, which is nestled into the southeast side of Brettler Family Place, contains 16 homes for families.

When the facilities are completed in December, Solid Ground will be operating 99 homes for formerly homeless families and 75 for formerly homeless men and women on the campus. All residents receive supportive services to make the Sand Point campus a a model stepping stone from supportive housing to long-term personal stability.

Building 4, view from the north; this meadow will eventually be turned into a playground for the 200 children who will live on site.

Building 4, view from the north; this meadow will eventually be turned into a playground for the 200 children who will live on site.

For more information, go to our website.

Why Seattle became home to us

Editor’s note: This first person account was submitted by Michelle Armstrong, who worked through our JourneyHome Rapid Re-housing program to gain stability through a challenging time in her life.


Several years ago, my son, Micah became chronically ill with an unknown disease (diagnosed two years later as Crohn’s with Perianal Disease). As a single mother, I was facing a lot of unknowns and had a frightened child to comfort.

I made a lot of mistakes during the first year of his illness. I had graduated from college with a B.A. and changed jobs a few months prior. His dad was not in the picture, nor had he been since Micah was a toddler. Suddenly, I not only had a student loan, mortgage payment and larger utility bills, but also looming medical bills.

I had to make choices that were very difficult, and those choices always caused an inner conflict. I wanted to be there for my son 24/7 but couldn’t, because I had to make a living as well.

My supervisor was such a warmhearted person, having gone through severe medical issues himself. He allowed me to work extra long days so I could do Micah’s treatments. But his boss said this was unproductive, so eventually I was laid off.

I had already fallen behind on our mortgage payments in order to purchase medical supplies and pay high deductibles out of my pocket. We eventually lost our home and, still without a diagnosis and now without medical insurance, I had to make some fast decisions.

I researched hospitals and found one two states away. I sold everything, including the wooden fence around our yard, so we could afford to move. I found a job in Nashville, Tennessee. But, still facing the same demands to respond to Micah’s condition, it was difficult to maintain steady employment. However, the blessing was a diagnosis and new treatments for Micah.

Michelle continued to prioritize Mikah’s care over everything else, which led to a number of moves. In 2010, they came to Seattle Children’s Hospital for treatment.

Merri Ann

As soon as we arrived in Seattle, Catholic Community Services was so attentive and gracious to help us. They then placed us in the hands of one of the most wonderful people I have ever met, Merri Ann Osborne with Solid Ground.

When I met Merri Ann, we were homeless. I still needed a job and Micah was still being seen at Children’s. Merri Ann was such a ray of sunshine. She helped us believe in hope again.

We were able to move into an apartment of our own. She then connected me with an amazing program to help people in need of employment.

During the summer, Micah had a successful surgery. Micah’s health improved so much in such a short time. Micah felt like he had a new lease on life. He had friends. I was meeting people and networking. It seemed things were heading towards “normal” again.

However late last fall, circumstances changed in our lives, and I made a decision that I have learned from but still regret. I had not found a job, and discovering problems at the apartment complex where we were living, my old fears returned.

We decided to move to Kansas City where there were job prospects. There were other determining factors, such as family being somewhat closer, but even my mother was not keen on the idea of us moving away from Seattle.

In any case, Merri Ann and Solid Ground advocated for us to terminate our lease early because of the problems with our apartment. The property management company had not been clear about some issues. They agreed to let us out of the lease early without penalty.

I remember crying as we drove out of Seattle, feeling like I was making the biggest mistake in my life. However, we left Seattle with something that we did not bring: a new lease on life.

Merri Ann, Solid Ground and Brigid Cabellon (with King County Career Connections) showed us that there was hope. They helped me rediscover myself, believe I was valuable as a human being, know that I was intelligent and –  despite all of the odds we had faced – know that I was still sane.

Continue reading

Broadview moms say “thanks!”

Editor’s Note: We received this message from Marci Creamer, children’s advocate at our Broadview Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing Program, and wanted to pass it on…

The 33 women at Broadview Shelter & Transitional Housing Program had a wonderful Mother’s Day this year due to the generosity of community members who “adopted” moms and purchased gifts for them. Many of the women said that they had never had a Mother’s Day as good as this one, and all were all very thankful for their gifts.

Thank you to: Amy Stephson, Ann Rinehart & Gina Young, Bridget & Trevor Sevigny, Express, Franz Bakery, Janet & Dennis F., Jeannie Ianelli, Jeff Rueckhaus, Jenny Hannibal, Junior League of Seattle, Kasea Hamar & Emily McBlair, Kelley Knickerbocker, The Lord Family, Lorrie Scott & moms from REI, Megan Evert, Nancy and William Hanneman, Pamela Vines, Robin Aldrich, Seattle Kappa Kappa Gamma Alumni Association Board & Members, Shelley Price, Sheri Bloch, Suzanne Rubins, Trina Wellman and Yvette Diven for bringing huge smiles and much joy to the women at Broadview!

If you want to support Broadview, go to their webpage and click on the donate button!

Transitional housing: a personal success story

Editor’s Note: For many women and children, escaping domestic violence (DV) is a root cause of their homelessness. Solid Ground’s Broadview Shelter and Transitional Housing program serves primarily women and their children who are working to survive domestic violence and rebuild stable lives. The following story was written by a recent resident of Broadview and our Sand Point Family Housing program. While she is not sharing her name in order to protect herself, she is very open about her experience. Her story is direct, honest and moving as it documents the difficult path DV survivors must walk to reclaim their lives. We are honored to be able to share it with you.

In September 2008, my daughter and I went into hiding from my daughter’s father by moving into Solid Ground’s Broadview Shelter. Despite the fact that this shelter was confidential, my ex had searched the neighborhood and found my car parked there. Because of this, the advocates at Broadview relocated us to a shelter in Kent.

Three months went by as my daughter and I resided safely in Kent. I spent every day trying to find some type of transitional housing; our time in the Kent shelter was strictly limited. My income level couldn’t afford us to pay market rent. We gratefully received public assistance and I also received SSI, as I have a disability. On top of that, I did part-time nanny work as much as possible. But with all of these, it was still not enough to pay market rent. My daughter and I don’t have family in the Northwest. I knew that our only viable choice was to find transitional housing. Continue reading

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