Making a home away from home

October 11, 2019 Providence Health Team

At her Belltown building, Patsy is grateful for her studio apartment, a community garden and on-site care when she needs it.

Patsy’s story: Plymouth Housing, Seattle, Washington

When you ask Patsy to describe her childhood in one word, she simply says, “nice.” She has fond memories of growing up with her parents and brother in Richmond, Calif. in the 1950s. She and her brother were close, and she had extended family living nearby.

But when she was 18, her parents went through a divorce and Patsy began to bounce from one job to another.

Over the years, she was an in-home elder caregiver, motel housekeeper and warehouse worker. Even though she was employed, she did not earn enough to maintain stable housing. Patsy recalls, “I survived by hustling on the streets for a while,” then after a brief pause adds, “But I made it through.”

Patsy first moved from Richmond to Seattle to care for her ailing aunt. When her aunt passed away, Patsy decided to make Seattle her home.

Since 2007, Patsy has resided at the Langdon & Anne Simons Senior Apartments in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. Her building is owned and operated by Plymouth Housing, a nonprofit organization that provides permanent, supportive housing to people who have experienced homelessness.

Pasty learned about Plymouth Housing while living at a transitional home in Seattle. At the time, all of Plymouth’s locations were at capacity which meant Patsy was placed on a waiting list. She was patient and after a year of waiting she found a home at Plymouth. Patsy reflects, “I’m glad I waited. Other places are run down, but not here.”

Along with her studio unit, Patsy enjoys several indoor and outdoor common areas including a terrace where she and fellow residents plant seasonal vegetables and herbs. Walking around the terrace, Patsy points out her small garden bed full of sage and mint, which are starting to signal the arrival of fall.

As a Plymouth resident, Patsy receives on-site care through Neighborcare Health, another local nonprofit. With multiple health issues, Patsy is grateful to have caregivers right in her own building, which reduces travel to off-site appointments. She also receives weekly deliveries from Meals on Wheels.

Patsy cares for her neighbors. When she cooks, she makes enough to share. She participates in group outings and is a regular at monthly group dinners prepared by a local chef. When she feels well enough, Patsy attends her local church or walks to the store. But she also enjoys taking time to recharge by reading detective novels or watching her favorite soap opera.

While she is thankful for her caring community and for a space to call her own in Seattle, Patsy’s heart longs for her Richmond roots. Her mother and son still reside there, along with her five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She says, “I want to move back to Richmond one day. I want to be near my family.”

About Plymouth Housing

Plymouth Housing provides permanent, supportive housing for more than 1,000 adults who have formerly experienced homelessness. With a total of 14 current locations, Plymouth owns and operates both renovated historic properties and new construction in downtown Seattle.

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