Plymouth Housing in Seattle, Washington
Robin with his housing manager Jaclyn at the announcement of the joint donation of $15 million to Plymouth Housing.
Robin looks back on his time as a specialist in the U.S. armed forces with fondness. “My time in the service was pretty good,” he says from his home at the Pat Williams Apartments in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood.
From 1978 to 1985, Robin served as a parachute rigger in the U.S. Army. He prepared, handled and repaired parachutes used for airdropping supplies, equipment and troops. During his service, he met a sitting U.S. vice president and even the Pope. “That was pretty cool,” he remembers.
But during his seven years of service, he was also met with real challenges. He sustained serious injuries to his left leg, breaking it three times. He now uses a wheelchair as a result of his injuries.
Robin lost his housing in Everett in 2013 and ended up at the Salvation Army William Booth Center, a transitional housing provider in Seattle where he lived for nearly three years. It was during his stay at the Salvation Army when his Veterans Affairs counselor connected him with Plymouth Housing.
Seattle-based Plymouth Housing provides permanent, supportive housing to people who have experienced homelessness. It uses a proven “Housing First” approach, providing a range of services in concert with housing for its residents.
Like Plymouth Housing, Providence St. Joseph Health believes housing security is inextricably linked to health. Improving health in our communities means ensuring people have access to safe, permanent housing. That is why Providence St. Joseph Health recently partnered with Swedish and Premera Blue Cross to invest $5 million each into Plymouth Housing.
This $15 million commitment will help support Plymouth’s development of eight new housing complexes in and around downtown Seattle. One of those facilities, a partnership project with Bellwether Housing, will be located in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood and will add more than 300 units of affordable housing. More than 100 of those apartments will be dedicated to seniors and veterans recovering from homelessness like Robin. And, it will be Seattle’s first affordable high-rise in more than 50 years.
When the executives of these companies came together on May 15, 2019, for the donation announcement, Robin was right there by their side, standing from his wheelchair to help unveil a poster proclaiming the gift to Plymouth Housing.
Now looking out his bedroom window with a slight shake in his voice, Robin says: “A lot of us vets think that we’re in this by ourselves, that we have to do everything by ourselves. Well, that’s wrong. Whatever your problem is or whatever your needs are, talk to somebody.”
As one of the largest permanent supportive housing providers in Seattle, Plymouth’s model is making a tangible difference with a proven success rate of 94 percent. By supporting organizations like Plymouth Housing, Providence is investing in its vision of health for a better world. And for residents like Robin, having a stable home makes a world of difference.
Robin says: “It’s a sense of accomplishment that you’re moving ahead in life, so I was pretty happy when I moved in.”