COVID-19 Impact and Update on Lazarus Center Operations
The past three months have been as challenging and demanding a time as any Lazarus Center has faced in our 30 year history. Our staff and volunteers have responded by focusing on the safety and health of the homeless men and women who come to us each day to find food, shelter, and a path to a better life through stable housing.
Moving Clients Out of Lazarus Center
In early March 2020, Lazarus Center and its partner program St. Martin de Porres Shelter moved 30 of the most elderly and medically vulnerable clients into their own motel rooms in downtown Seattle, thus minimizing inherent exposure found in a congregate shelter. That decision turned out to be crucial, as up to this moment, none of these clients had contracted the virus. The motel rooms are being paid for by King County, and we have moved some staff to working at the motel to support our clients.
- King County Airport (now closed) – Later in March, with the help of King County, some Lazarus Center and St.Martin de Porres Shelter clients moved into a temporary shelter at the King County Airport. This assisted in thinning out the shelters’ clients so individuals could get at least six feet of separation between their sleeping mats.
- Local Motels – Since that time, Lazarus and St. Martin’s m
oved 100 more men and women into motels, allowing us to close the airport shelter. One of the current, temporary shelters is called “Bob G’s Shelter”. It is named after our late program director Bob Goetschius. Bob G’s Shelter houses 60 people from Lazarus Center and St. Martin de Porres Shelter.
- Junction Point Shelter, opening soon! King County partnered with us in the past weeks to open another new shelter on Elliott Avenue in Seattle; it is designed to keep our clients in separately partitioned sleeping areas to minimize contact. You can take a video tour here. Lazarus Center operations, the new Junction Point Shelter, and the motels are currently running 24/7, which is an important action in keeping our constituents safe and healthy. This rapid response has prevented the virus from impacting our population as it did in the nursing homes.
- The Lazarus Center staff’s absolute dedication to our mission remains intact, even in the face of COVID-19: we continue to transition our clients into permanent housing.
- Giving people private rooms, and more space at the shelter, has enabled us to get the spread of the virus in check.
- We work closely with Public Health whose extensive testing and support have also helped to prevent the spread of the virus among clients and the community.
How to Help
Volunteer work and donations allow our staff heroes to continue providing this critical care and service to Seattle’s most vulnerable population. Please e-mail us for more information.
Lazarus Center provides a warm, safe, hospitable place with a community atmosphere for homeless and marginally housed men and women age 50 and older. Before the pandemic, on an average day, 275 individuals would come through our doors seeking food and shelter. The Center’s operations are still open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in its temporary shelter locations.
At our Rainier Avenue location, the main room is designed to convert into a men’s shelter and the activity room into a women’s shelter. The main room accommodates 40 men and the activity room shelters nine women, with flexibility on that ratio depending on need.
As a result of their age and living conditions, the majority of our guests suffer frommental and physical disabilities. The Center opened in July 1990 to serve this special population of homeless senior adults who are vulnerable to the weather, street predators, and illness.
To the best of our knowledge, Lazarus Center is the only shelter that offers and targets such a multitude of services to the older homeless community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In our regular operations, we provide:
- Safe, daytime shelter with a community atmosphere
- Hot breakfast and lunch; dinner for overnight guests
- Restroom and shower facilities
- Women’s dressing room
- Laundry facilities
- 6-station computer learning center
- Lockers for overnight guests
- Activities such as Bingo, arts & crafts, and card games
- Drug and alcohol counseling
- Counseling from VA outreach worker
- Information and referrals
- Housing case management
Your time and skills help keep our expenses low so we can focus our financial resources on providing safe, daytime shelter for older homeless individuals. The Lazarus Center offers a variety of volunteer opportunities throughout the day:
- Off-site Meal Preparation
- Meal & Beverage Service
- Clothing Distribution
- Towel & Supplies Distribution
- Barber Service
- Special Events
To volunteer or get more information on these activities, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your tax-deductible financial donations enable us to provide a safe, warm place for homeless people to rest during the day, shower, wash their clothes, and eat a nutritious meal. A gift of $20.00 will allow a person to find refuge at the Lazarus for 2 days; $100.00 for 10 days.
To make an immediate donation on-line via our secure server, click here.
Planned Gifts, Stock & Other Donations
Lazarus Center also welcomes bequests and memorial gifts, as well as other types of support. Please contact the Catholic Community Services Fund Development Office, at 206-328-5707 to discuss a wide variety of ways to give.
For other questions regarding direct contributions, please contact Angela Chinn Peterson.
Food and In-Kind Donations
Your donation of food helps feed more than 200 homeless people a day. Commonly needed items include: non-perishables and canned goods, dried beans, food seasonings, peanut butter, tuna, cooking oil, and margarine.
The Center especially needs clothing and shoes to stock its new, empty clothing closet!
Our guests also appreciate toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, disposable razors, shaving cream, after shave, shampoo, combs, and lotion.
If you would like to know about other useful items or our most urgent needs, please click here to e-mail us.
Please join us in providing older homeless people with a safe place to stay; a sense of family; hope for their future; and other vital services every day of the year.
Some of the Center’s ongoing needs include:
- Shampoo: Especially small, travel-sized containers
- Disposable Razors
- Reading Glasses (strength +1.25 to 2.00)
- Men’s and Women’s Underwear
- Coats and Hats
- Men’s Shoes
- Bar Soap
- After Shave
- Canned Food
- Food Seasonings
- Non-Dairy Creamer
- First Aid Supplies
- Paper Towels
- Large Garbage Bags
- Volunteer Barber