Brittney Shaughnessy lost her job during the pandemic. At nearly seven months pregnant, she feared no one would hire her. She was referred to Open House Ministries, where she received safe shelter and guidance from a case manager while she participated in a program to help her transition out of homelessness and into stable housing.
After giving birth to her son, Brittney enrolled in college. She graduated and got a job as a medical assistant. When Open House gave her the opportunity to move into a new home with her son at their Pinewood Terrace property, she was living with her parents. It had been five years since Brittney had a place of her own.
Pinewood Terrace provides 14 units, 10 of which are reserved for very low-income households (earning 50% or less of the area median income). This year, the property was acquired by Open House Ministries who committed to a 20-year covenant to ensure it would be preserved as affordable housing long-term. The $1.95 million acquisition was supported by a $750,000 investment from the AHF.
For another single parent, Sarah Willman, a new home provided a chance to feel safe and build a foundation for her young son. Sarah moved into the 31st Street Tiny Home Project this year.
The road to a stable home was rocky. She lived in hotels off and on and after living in an apartment with mold issues and no fixes, she accessed shelter for herself and her son at Open House Ministries. Despite being employed, she couldn’t afford other options. When she received a referral for the opportunity to move into a tiny home, it changed her life.
Sarah’s new home is part of a community of four tiny homes, located on West 31st Street just east of NW Fruit Valley Road. The community was produced by the Vancouver Housing Authority for a total of $750,000 with a $250,000 investment from the AHF. Each 616-square-foot, two-bedroom home is home to previously homeless individuals who earn 50% or less than the area median income.
Meet Joe & Miranda
Miranda and her partner had been living in their car for about seven months after losing their apartment. Prior to losing her job, Miranda worked in the service industry as a restaurant manager, taking time away from work to support Joe who had sustained injuries in his job as a truck driver, and who was laid off due to staffing cuts during the pandemic.
Share’s Rapid Rehousing support staff began working with Joe to help him access caregiving support and helped set up transportation for his ongoing medical appointments. Within two days of connecting with staff, Miranda and Joe had applied for two apartments and were accepted to both, with Miranda also putting in applications for three jobs.
Within three months of entering the program, Miranda and Joe were housed and Miranda was employed again in a new job as manager of a local restaurant. Joe was making quick strides in his recovery from his injuries, sharing that he hoped to start applying for local truck driving roles in the coming months.
It has been a good year for Cynder Jones and her canine companion, Laqueesha. They were among the first residents of The Meridian, a 46-unit permanent supportive apartment complex for people formerly experiencing homelessness in Clark County that opened earlier this year.
Cynder loves to take Laqueesha on daily walks around the block. In the courtyard, she chats with her neighbors. Back in her apartment, she happily spends hours cooking up delicious meals to share with her neighbors. A steaming pan of lasagna cools on the countertop, soon to be shared with lucky newcomers. “It always cheers me up to make other people happy,” she says.
With a quiet place to think and write, Cynder is becoming more involved in advocacy for people who are experiencing homelessness. She was recently appointed to a Washington State Department of Commerce advisory committee on supportive housing, a duty she takes seriously.