Looking Back, Looking Forward

A message from Joe Thompson, President of Mercy Housing Northwest

A photo strip of Mercy Housing Staff and residents in and around the community2020 was an immensely challenging year for everyone. A year of isolation and insecurity driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and compounded by one thing held in common with each year that came before: disproportionate impacts on communities of color and deepening hardships for those already financially struggling.

Mercy Housing Northwest residents faced two immediate needs at the onset of the pandemic: rising food insecurity and rapid loss of income. We sprang into action, thanks to support from partners like Bank of America, Safeway, and Walmart who provided over $700,000 for food assistance.

Crisis sparked innovation, and we launched the collaborative Community Kitchens program with several BIPOC- and women-owned local restaurants which provided nearly 12,000 meals to residents over a four-month period. We secured over $600,000 in rental assistance funding to help offset income loss for residents. Mercy Housing Northwest also continued to grow, expanding much-needed access to housing. We opened Gardner House and the Allen Family Center in Seattle’s Mt. Baker neighborhood, and broke ground for new homes for families and seniors in Seattle and Tacoma.

Access to affordable housing remains one of the most critical challenges we face in the Northwest. This year, we are deepening our commitment in the Bellingham community with another family housing development. And we are excited to build connections in Vancouver, WA as we break ground on our first-ever development. We are working to expand early childhood and K-12 education programs for families, and to address the digital divide that creates barriers for so many people with lower incomes.

We continue our efforts to help residents stay healthy and respond to the impacts of COVID-19. We multiply the power of a safe and stable home by providing resident-centered supports, focused on social connectedness, and deeply rooted in our core values of respect, justice, and mercy.

There is already much to be grateful for this year. I am grateful for our Mercy Housing Northwest team — their hard work, creativity, and willingness to go above and beyond in service to others. I am grateful for the Mercy Housing Northwest residents who show us again and again what we already know: that they are resilient and strong, diverse and inclusive, and they care deeply for each other and the communities they call home.

And I am grateful for each of you, our donors, and partners who provide critical resources so that when more is needed, we can do more. Thank you, and best wishes for a safe and healthy 2021.

Yours in Hope,

Joe Thompson headshot

Joe Thompson
President, Mercy Housing Northwest