PHOTOS: Opening day for Mary’s Place @ White Center Family Shelter

There are signs … and smiles. We visited the new White Center Family Shelter at midday today as they were expecting their first guests to arrive … a family of nine, according to executive director Marty Hartman of Mary’s Place, which is operating the shelter and has been working intensively to get it ready, with help from what Hartman declared “an amazing community.”

What was a vintage-1961 public-health clinic is now ready to temporarily house families totaling up to 35 people in phase 1 … and then when more features can be added, such as additional showers, they’ll be able to accept a few dozen more. Hartman showed us around between this morning’s job fair and guest arrival.

Welcoming messages are everywhere inside the converted clinic:

It’s remarkable to think about how far this plan has come with community support. Just six months ago, first word of what was at the time going to be a low-barrier adults-only shelter brought furious opposition. Mary’s Place was not involved at that time; they were brought in after King County backpedaled and worked with a community committee to decide how to best use the ex-clinic, and the decision was to make it a family shelter, operated by Mary’s Place. The building needed some modifications, and more are to come, but for now, not only are there places for people to sleep, there are also rooms for kids and teens activities, with murals painted by volunteers:

And lots of storage, with items awaiting those who need them:

Speaking of items, we asked what if anything was needed, in terms of donations? Here’s the current list:

Volunteer help also will be welcome – you can sign up through the Mary’s Place website.

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5 Responses to “PHOTOS: Opening day for Mary’s Place @ White Center Family Shelter”

  1. Mary's Place Says:

    Thank you for this great story/tour! We’re so excited to be open to bring families inside!

    Our Amazon Wish List is here if you’d like to help:

    Interested in volunteering? We’ll be ready next week, sign up here and register for an orientation:

  2. Mark Ufkes Says:

    Yeah for White Center! Our community is doing its part to solve homelessness! Homeless families and children no less. Thank you Mary’s Place for helping our community support this wonderful gift for these deserving families. A perfect use of this facility. It was once a public health clinic, healing peoples lives, and now it is a family homeless shelter, helping heal peoples lives again. Yeah for White Center!


    Will job training and housing also be offered for the tenants?

  4. Yes, that was all reported before it opened. There’s even a “job board” in the reception area. And they have case workers to work with the families to get them into more stable situations.

  5. Are you able to accept donations at this location?