I’m on the board of a local non-profit agency, Hopelink. There’s a surprising amount of poverty and families in crisis in what most assume is a very affluent community. Just because you don’t always see it doesn’t mean it isn’t here.
So, what is Hopelink? The one-sentence version:
Hopelink helps homeless and low-income families get out of crisis and become self-sufficient.
The slightly longer “elevator speech”
Hopelink helps homeless and low-income families and children [and seniors and people with disabilities] throughout north & east King County. Hopelink focuses on helping people move out of crisis and become self-sufficient. Services include foodbanks, shelter, transitional housing, childcare, adult literacy, case-management, transportation, emergency financial help, and more.
For those longer elevators in the downtown Seattle high-rise’s, we can continue with a little more detail:
Hopelink has centers in Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Northshore, Sno-Valley and Shoreline. Hopelink has 32 units of transitional housing, in Redmond and Bellevue, and the Adelle Maxwell Child Care Center, in Bellevue, serves children from homeless and low-income families.
We know that if a family comes to Hopelink for a single need like food, they almost certainly have other needs too. Hopelink’s goal is not just to provide a handout, but to help the family become stable in all areas of their life, and then help them become self-reliant. Hopelink focuses on concrete, long-term solutions.
As an agency, Hopelink believes that poverty is the community’s problem, and the community has the power to solve it. Hopelink’s strength and success comes from the tremendous support of our community. From the volunteers who help run the six food banks, to the business owners who sponsor annual events, to the community leaders who help provide vision, to the donors whose gifts support Hopelink’s efforts, it’s community support that makes it possible to help over 50,000 individuals each year.
Hopelink has been around since 1971; it used to be called “Multi-Service Centers of North & East King County.” Hopelink started because of the Boeing lay-offs: some people decided to form a job-referral service for former Boeing employees. Of course, then it was clear that when someone loses their job, they have lots of other needs too, like food, shelter, etc. So gradually services were added to address those needs, and the agency branched out throughout the Eastside and north King County. Now, Hopelink is the Eastside’s largest private non-profit human-services agency.