Mary's Place Opens New Emergency Shelter for Families With $2.4 Million Community Investment

In Partnership With the Schultz Family Foundation, Mary's Place to Scale Successful Pilot of Their Diversion Model

Mary's Place
June 25, 2019

SEATTLE (June 20, 2019) – Mary's Place to open a new short-stay shelter that provides Diversion resources to qualifying families from funds raised from last year’s highly successful “No Child Sleeps Outside” campaign.

From 2011 to 2018, Mary’s Place increased annual bed nights nearly 80 percent from 2,300 to 179,900. Despite this increase in capacity, of the 1,533 unique families calling the King County Family Emergency Shelter intake line in 2018, only 41 percent were able to find shelter. Today, in our community, hundreds of families with children are still outside.  

Diversion is an innovative strategy for addressing homelessness that involves working with families to identify barriers and solutions to help them move quickly back into permanent housing. Access to sources of flexible funding to address the unique needs of each family is critical to the success of this model.  

Until recently, families had to be unsheltered to be eligible for public Diversion funds. At the Mary's Place Family Diversion Center, families who have a housing voucher, income, or other resources and who only need a short stay can come inside to safety and stability. Mary's Place Diversion specialists then work with individual families to identify solutions and move back into stable housing within 30 days.

The Mary's Place Family Diversion Center model was piloted in partnership with the Schultz Family Foundation. Over the past three years, Mary's Place created both mobile outreach and drop-in Diversion programs that helped hundreds of families find stable housing at dramatically less cost than a shelter stay. Since beginning the Diversion pilot, the Mary's Place Diversion team successfully helped 731 families move from the streets directly into permanent housing, diverting shelter altogether. On average, a family accessed approximately $1,900 of flexible funding to address their unique needs.  

“We are so grateful for the community support that has made it possible to expand our successful Diversion program and double the number of families that we could help find housing last year,” said Marty Hartman, Mary's Place executive director. “This new space is a life-saving gift that is getting us closer to our goal of bringing all children inside to warmth, safety, and stability.”

The Mary’s Place Diversion model serves as a successful example for other communities. Mary's Place will release a white paper on their Diversion work and other innovative efforts to address the crisis of unsheltered family homelessness at the National Alliance on Ending Homelessness Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. in July.  

“Families at risk of or experiencing homelessness have had one too many bad breaks and lack a support system to help them. Diversion services and funds essentially serve as this safety net,” said Daniel Pitasky, executive director of the Schultz Family Foundation. “Working with a family before they spiral into homelessness, or immediately after they’ve lost their housing is far more effective and efficient than waiting until they have lost both their home and hope. The Schultz Family Foundation is excited to support the Family Diversion Center as they expand on this model of service.”

Mary’s Place will welcome the community into the new space at 712 Aurora Ave N in Seattle on Wednesday, June 26 from 5-7 pm for an open house celebration. The goal of the event is to thank “No Child Sleeps Outside” campaign sponsors, including Starbucks, the Starbucks Foundation, and the Schultz Family Foundation; to share about the success of their investments in Mary’s Place Diversion model; and to celebrate this new space that is providing an additional 50 beds each night for moms, dads, and kids.

“By working with responsible providers such as Mary’s Place, the employer community has rallied to make a tangible difference in the unsheltered family crisis in King County. It’s starting to work,” said John Kelly, senior vice president of Global Public Affairs and Social Impact at Starbucks. “We are celebrating much more than a shelter today; we are launching a new way of helping vulnerable families in crisis find housing and a path forward.”

The “No Child Sleeps Outside” campaign successfully brought together businesses and individuals across King County to address the crisis of families and children sleeping outside.  

The full 2018 “No Child Sleeps Outside” campaign sponsor list includes: Starbucks, The Starbucks Foundation, Albertsons Safeway, Amazon, Barsuk Records, BECU, Bentall Kennedy, Biscuit Bitch, BNBuilders, Brooks Running, Chihuly Studio, Columbia Bank, Comcast NBCUniversal, Costco, Darigold, Dick’s Drive-In Restaurants, Downtown Seattle Association, Expedia, Google, Graphite Design Group, H.D. Fowler Company, Hasbro, Heritage Bank, HNN Associates, Holland America Line, Kaiser Permanente, Lakeside Industries, Lease Crutcher Lewis, LMC – A Lennar Company, Microsoft, Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas), Neighborhood Grills, Nintendo of America, Premera Blue Cross, Puget Sound Business Travel Association, PwC, Regence, RUN Studios, SAP Concur, Scan Design Foundation, Schultz Family Foundation, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Seattle Restaurant Alliance and Seattle Hotel Association, Tarragon, U.S. Bank, Uber, Union Bank, Visit Seattle, Vulcan, Walmart, Washington Federal Bank, Wells Fargo, Weyerhaeuser, Windermere Foundation, Women President’s Organization, and Zillow Group.

About Mary's Place

Mary’s Place believes that no one’s child should sleep outside. They provide safe and inclusive shelter and resources for women, children and families on their journey out of homelessness. Mary’s Place operates ten crisis response family shelters providing refuge and community for nearly 600 family members. The organization focuses on an innovative strategy of combining Diversion, emergency shelter, and resources for transition into housing to bring families out of homelessness. In 2018, Mary's Place helped 650 families find permanent housing. Visit to learn more.

About Schultz Family Foundation

The Schultz Family Foundation, established in 1996 by Sheri and Howard Schultz, aims to unlock America’s potential, one individual and one community at a time. It creates opportunities for populations facing barriers to success to ensure that their place in life isn’t determined by ZIP code, race, religion, gender or sexual identity. Investing in innovative, scalable solutions and partnerships, the Foundation focuses its efforts on two groups with enormous promise: the 4.5 million youth and young adults aged between 16 and 24 who are out of school and out of work, and the 3.8 million post-9/11 veterans and approximately 250,000 service members who transition from active, National Guard or Reserve duty to civilian life each year. Visit for more information.

Contact: Linda Mitchell, Mary's Place chief communications officer, 206-334-4687,


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