Many Voices, One Mission: Building a Path to Stability

To end the homelessness of every man who walks through our doors, our case managers, behavioral health team, and shelter support staff work tirelessly every day to support our clients’ complicated and unique needs.

Housing Ends Homelessness

But the work to end homelessness in King County as a whole requires a very different type of approach.  It requires policy solutions, political willpower, and collective action.  It’s about changing the systemic gaps that lead to homelessness to stop the inflow, and it’s about building a continuum of care that helps transition thousands of people to stability and independence.

At PorchLight, we play an important role in this process, helping hundreds of men each year. Neither our Emergency Men’s Shelter nor our Rotating Shelters are a permanent solution, nor should either serve as long-term housing for anyone. Our clients are still considered homeless while they are with us: sheltered homeless is still homeless.

Our shelter services are meant to be a path our guests travel to transition out of the crisis that is homelessness and into stable housing. As such, we are vested in ensuring options are available once our clients are ready to move on.

Taking a Stand

Our 2024 Legislative Agenda is focused almost entirely on new supportive housing development in King County. On January 30, PorchLight staff joined the Washington Low-Income Housing Alliance in Olympia to lobby lawmakers for change.

Expanding our outreach to the legislature this year was not by accident. We are committed to advocating for the larger homelessness system, not just our organizational needs. While it is true, we need to keep an eye out for own funding, our ability to successfully function within the system and have our mission make a difference, more affordable housing (including permanent supportive housing for people with disabilities) is paramount. ~ Executive Director Troy Christensen

Supporting Our Partners

This month PorchLight took on another opportunity to publicly reiterate our principles about housing development.  Our partners and campus neighbors at Plymouth Housing are working to expand supportive permanent housing in East King County.

After Kenmore City Council rejected Plymouth’s proposal for the 100-unit permanent supportive housing project, Plymouth submitted a proposal to Redmond City Council. Read more about the details of the process in Redmond here.

PorchLight engaged in two different ways in support of Plymouth.

  1. We joined Microsoft, Amazon, Habitat for Humanity, Imagine Housing, Friends of Youth, The Together Center, and others in signing a letter to the Redmond City Council chambers with other members of the Eastside Housing Roundtable in support of Plymouth and their project.
  2. Along with many others, our Community Engagement Manager, Tom Kerby, attended two Redmond City Council meetings to testify in support. He was joined by some of PorchLight’s interfaith partners located in Redmond.

Part of my job, as Community Engagement Manager, is to hear, understand, and respond to the complaints people have about encampments and homelessness on the Eastside.  We share those frustrations; no one should ever have to experience homelessness. But that next step cannot happen if there isn’t housing available. But so often, I hear those same voices then vehemently opposing the very housing that would help us get those people out of homelessness. ~Tom Kerby

You can listen to all community comments shared at the Redmond City Council meeting here.

Joining the Conversation

We join with the community in the belief that homelessness has adverse effects on our neighborhoods; homelessness is something no one should experience in their lifetime. We know our vision to end homelessness in East King County is not possible without affordable housing options, including permanent supportive housing for people with disabilities.

While our dedicated front-line staff works tirelessly implementaing wholistic and evidence-based practices required to make a difference, PorchLight is committed to advocating on the local, county, and state levels for the systemic change that is needed.

In truth, advocacy work is difficult for a shelter. If anyone wants to be a voice in ending homelessness, start by taking action:

  • Join us in calling for more affordable and permanent supportive housing.
  • Stay informed about nearby housing developments.
  • Contact your local representatives.
  • Spread the word.