COVID-19 Impact and Update on St. Martin de Porres Shelter Operations
This year has been as challenging and demanding a time as any St. Martin de Porres Shelter has faced in our 35 year history. Our staff and volunteers have responded by focusing on the safety and health of the homeless men who come to us each day to find food, shelter, and a path to a better life through stable housing.
Moving Clients Out of St. Martin’s
In early March 2020, St. Martin’s moved 30 of our 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, St. Martin’s opened a second shelter at the King County Airport. This assisted in thinning out St. Martin de Porres Shelter clients and our partner program Lazarus Center clients, so individuals could get at least six feet of separation between their sleeping mats.
- Local Motels – Since that time, St. Martin’s and Lazarus
moved 100 more men and women into motels, allowing us to close the temporary King County 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 St. Martin de Porres Shelter and Lazarus Center.
- Junction Point Shelter – King County partnered with us to open another new shelter on Elliott Avenue West in Seattle this September; it is designed to keep our residents in separately partitioned sleeping areas to minimize contact. You can take a video tour here. Visit @smdpseattle on Facebook to see photos (Junction Point Shelter and Day #2 albums) of St. Martin’s residents living at Junction Point.
St. Martin’s, the new Junction Point Shelter, and the motels are currently running 24/7, which is an important action to keep our constituents safe and healthy.
- St. Martin de Porres Shelter 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. From January through early October, we helped 41 men move out of St. Martin’s.
- 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 and the Seattle Flu Study 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 call 206-323-6341 or e-mail us for more information.
Seattle Times Articles about St. Martin de Porres Shelter
- He fought in Vietnam. Now, at 80, he volunteers every day in shelters with clusters of coronavirus
- Coronavirus brings ‘a whole other layer of trauma’ for workers who serve homeless people
- Remembering George Buckingham, one of the dozens of people who have died homeless in Seattle so far this year
St. Martin de Porres Shelter provides safe and dignified night shelter for homeless men age 50 and older. The shelter opened in October 1984 in response to the growing need for an emergency shelter for this special population of elderly men who are vulnerable to the weather, street predators, and illness.
We currently operate at our full capacity of 212 men a night. The shelter is open 365 nights a year from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. and during the day for medical convalescent care. During the winter months, we have arrangements with eight local churches to provide space for an additional 34 men a night.
Our mission is to provide a hospitable, safe, and orderly shelter for men 50 years of age and older who are homeless. This is to be done in the spirit of ministry of presence, which fosters attention to the individual and respect for each person’s unique situation.
Our Ministry of Presence
“Do not depend on the hope of results…In the end, it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything.”
Our ministry of presence is rooted in the Gospel Values and entwined with our idea of friendship and community. We believe our ministry is to live out an unconditional affirmation and passionate pursuit of the best in every person.
We have faith that the good is there and that we can discover it together through our solidarity with one another in all the pain and joy of life.
We recognize our shortcomings and we ask forgiveness when we fail to sustain our vision of home for one another.
To the best of our knowledge, St. Martin’s is the only night shelter that offers and targets such a multitude of services to the elderly homeless community year-round. We provide:
- Night Shelter
- Hot Meals
- Day Respite: 24-hour care for the ill or injured; includes transportation to and from medical appointments.
- Medical Care: A formal agreement with Health Care for the Homeless provides nursing services up to 40 hours a week, without cost to St. Martin’s.
- Restroom and Shower Facilities
- Laundry Room
- Housing Case Management: Our case managers assist residents in securing permanent housing and offer help in dealing with community resources and governmental agencies.
- Drug and Alcohol Counseling
- Counseling from VA outreach worker
- AA Meetings (optional)
- Memorial Services: St. Martin’s hosts memorial services for men who have stayed at the Shelter.
Your time and skills help keep our expenses low so we can focus our financial resources on providing safe, nighttime shelter for elderly homeless individuals. St. Martin’s offers a variety of volunteer opportunities throughout the day:
Off-site Food Preparation
Meal & Beverage Service
Towel & Supplies Distribution
To volunteer or get more information on these activities, please call (206) 323-6341.
Your tax deductible financial donations enable us to provide a safe, warm place for a homeless man to sleep, shower, wash his clothes, and eat a nutritious meal. A gift of $40.00 will allow a man to stay at St. Martin’s for 2 nights; $100.00 for 5 nights.
To make an immediate and secure online donation, click here.
Cash & Check Donations
You can send a donation via US Mail to:
Catholic Community Services
Attn: Fund Development Office
100 23rd Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98144-5979
Planned Gifts, Stock & Other Donations
St. Martin de Porres Shelter 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.
Your donation of food helps feed 212+ homeless men a night. Commonly needed items include: large canned goods such as tuna, chili, stew, and pork and beans; wrapped 2-ct. soda crackers (e.g., 500 ct. boxes); condiments; eggs; cereal; milk; tea; and coffee.
Our residents also appreciate clothing and toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, disposable razors, shaving cream, shampoo and lotion.
If you would like to know about other useful items or our most urgent needs, please call the Shelter directly at 206-323-6342 and ask for Angie or any available staff member.