Affordable housing like Christmas gift for former homeless

It might be hard to imagine anyone looking forward to moving into a new home on Christmas Eve, but that’s exactly what’s happening at Aspen Terrace Apartments in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle.

Non-profit organization Pioneer Human Services helps people get back on their feet. The organization’s brand-new building on Belmont Avenue offers a hand up with wrap around services and affordable rent.

That includes Larry Hamonds who signed a lease on Thursday for the first time in years. His new studio apartment has an impressive view. The place comes furnished, plus a kitchen and his own bathroom, but he says none of it would be possible without his faith.

"Between God and Jesus and friends and prayers," he said, "That’s it."   

Hamonds in his mid-60’s and from West Virginia. The past four years has been a life of survival on the streets and living in his car.

"I can describe it but you can’t picture it," he said.

Aspen Terrace is PHS’ newest affordable housing facility in Seattle. It has a capacity for 89 renters making it also their biggest. It includes a community center and wrap around services. The facility offers humanity; It’s a place where home for the holidays means safety from the streets.

"It’s more important for us to get it done today," said Joseph Nagel with PHS.

Hamonds unpacked a housewarming gift, a bag filled with items include a tooth brush and some cards. The staged units show how it doesn’t take much to make the studio apartments feel like home.

Out the windows of his unit Seattle’s skyline reaches for the sky, but down below so many more are struggling.  

"I don’t understand these people downtown surviving what they’re doing," he said.

Tucked into Capitol Hill, Pioneer Human Services reaches out to those reaching back. During this season of giving, the gift for Hamonds is a place he can call his own.

"You know what, it’s kind of like my Christmas present," Hamonds said. "That’s wonderful."