Submitted by: Lisa Moore, Executive Director, Queen Anne Helpline
As we work, live, and play in our South Lake Union neighborhood we’re surrounded by rapid upscale development. In sharp contrast is what we often don't see - neighbors in need. The Queen Anne Helpline is all too aware of this need because every year, as a neighborhood social service non-profit, we provide financial and other basic needs assistance to thousands of residents living in South Lake Union, Queen Anne and Magnolia. Residents including seniors living on fixed incomes, working families struggling to make ends meet, and many others who lack a safety net during times of hardship. These are people we shop with, sit next to in the coffee shop and attend church with.
Over 30 years ago Dick Rhodes, who owned the Queen Anne Thriftway, saw seniors were coming into his store and purchasing pet food because they could not afford anything else. His shocking discovery and realization that there are people in need in our relatively affluent neighborhoods led to the creation of the Queen Anne Helpline in 1982. Thirty-two years later the Helpline continues to provide critically needed aid to our most vulnerable neighbors.
Every day at the Helpline we see how unexpected events like losing a job or a medical emergency can undermine the stability of local residents. Residents like Barbara, a 76 year old widow, who after living in the same apartment for 30 years found herself unable to pay rent after an unexpected increase. Or Gail, who after a life-threatening illness was forced to make a choice between paying medical bills or her utility bill. Partnering with other local agencies to leverage resources and maximize our impact, we work closely with clients to provide targeted, short-term assistance.
The Queen Anne Helpline's programs prevent 300 evictions every year through our rental assistance, ensures people stay warm through our utility assistance, provides 240 meals every weekend to feed hungry children in our public schools, supports individuals in continuing education or job training, and much more. We look forward to working together to continue making the South Lake Union community a vibrant and a humaneneighborhood. For more information please visit: www.QueenAnneHelpline.org.