Helping those who served: New King County shelter offers 24/7 support for veterans

Since serving at Fort Benning and Fort Lewis, Thomas Holm has gone through a lot of changes. 

"There’s a lot of uncertainties in my life," Holm said.

Before coming to the Blaine Veterans Center, he told FOX 13 he couldn’t work, so he couldn’t afford rent. He also has to go to many doctor’s appointments because right now, he’s fighting a different battle: prostate cancer.

"I didn’t know where I was going to end up or what was going to happen," Holm said. 

Which is why he’s grateful for the Blaine Veterans Center, the first all-veteran, 24/7 enhanced shelter in King County. It comes after the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Point-in-Time Count revealed veteran homelessness increased by 7.4% in 2023.

"There are probably 750 unhoused veterans in King County and it’s important that we tap into that," Charlene Mitchell, Director of Emergency Services for Compass Housing Alliance, said.


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Compass Housing Alliance operates the shelter, which provides resources for mental health, substance abuse and financial empowerment. 

"I get pure joy off knowing someone was helped, and if you can help one person, then we know we’ve accomplished something," Mitchell said.

She adds, there’s no time frame for how long someone can stay at the shelter, as long as they’re working toward getting housing and bettering themselves.

"This is a crisis for many cities, and it’s not just Seattle so we need to find a solution that can better help individuals. Don’t cast judgment, just know everyone goes through something in life," Mitchell said.

The center's space is owned by First Church, located right next door. Reverend Jeremy Smith, pastor at First Church, gave FOX 13 Seattle the following statement on the new shelter:

For Holm, he says this resource has been life-changing. 

"It’s nice to know that once you’ve served your country, that your country is here to serve you when you can no longer serve yourself," Holm said.

The veterans center can support and house 36 men. They’re working on a program right now for dedicated spaces for female veterans, according to Mitchell. In order to take part in this, you do need to be part of the King County Veterans Program. There, you can register and they will find a place for you.

Find out more about the Blaine Veterans Center on the Compass Housing Alliance website.


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