Wude’s story: Providence Vincent House - Seattle, Washington
Living in poverty and with significant health issues is difficult for anyone, but when Wude, 68, moved to the United States, she didn’t know anyone and didn’t speak the language. Her new life was, in many ways, better than her country of origin, but she had trouble adapting.
Wude (pronounced “Woo-da”) was born in Ethiopia and years later developed an unmanaged mental illness, which eventually led to homelessness. It was an almost unbearable time. After a hospitalization, Wude was referred to the Providence Vincent House community.
“I had nothing when I came here,” Wude says. “They provided me with a bed, mattress, plates for food, mops, even a microwave to warm my food.”
Providence Vincent House prioritizes applicants who are experiencing homelessness. A focus on homelessness and housing insecurity is part of Providence St. Joseph Health’s broad approach to health and wellness for the communities it serves. People with stable housing, for example, have better access to healthier food, hygiene facilities and can focus on getting consistent medical care. They no longer live in constant stress. Many – for the first time in their lives – don’t feel afraid of going to sleep at night.
Having a safe, reliable place to live and a system of supportive services meant Wude’s life could begin to stabilize, as she learned to treat and manage her challenges with the help of a team of compassionate experts.
When she moved into her new home, the Providence Vincent House service coordinator explained complex paperwork and helped connect Wude with benefits and services such as transportation, food delivery and discounted internet.
Over time, Wude began to feel safer and more secure as she acquired the skills to maintain her health and take care of herself. She started to engage in her community of fellow residents who live in the 60 studio apartments within Providence Vincent House. Today, she enjoys preparing traditional Ethiopian dishes to share with her neighbors at Providence Vincent House events. The joy of her newfound life is evident in her smile.
“The people here are just like sisters and brothers,” Wude says. “There is a lot of love.”
About the Providence Supportive Housing Program
Providence Vincent House at Pike Place Market in Seattle is one of 16 Providence supportive housing communities in three states - Washington, Oregon and California. The program provides permanent, affordable and safe housing for more than 950 seniors and people with disabilities who have very low incomes. Each location is a caring, respectful community with on-site service coordination to promote independence and aging in place.